Tarek Fayed, Chairperson and CEO of Banque du Caire, said that 2020 was a significant challenge due to the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He noted that, the Egyptian banking sector managed to overcome these challenges. He also stressed that the proactive initiatives launched by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) since the beginning of the crisis have supported the Egyptian economy in the face of all challenges.
Fayed explained that Banque du Caire’s financial results in 2020 reflect the strength of its financial performance, its geographical spread, the diversity of its credit portfolio, and the excellence of its staff.
Banque du Caire continued to take proactive measures against COVID-19 by strengthening the balance of allocations with EGP 2.4bn, double the amount allocated in 2019, according to Fayed.
This is part of the precautionary measures taken by the bank to manage risks in light of the crisis, backed by proactive and balanced management of various types of risks.
He stressed that customers are repaying their dues to the bank despite the pandemic. This is evident in the non-performing loan ratio, which reached 4% of the total loan portfolio in 2020, confirming the positive indicators of asset quality.
According to Fayed, Banque du Caire has always worked to develop the loan portfolio in various sectors. This includes financing large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as micro enterprises, in addition to retail banking.
The total loan-to-deposit ratio reached 57% by the end of December 2020, compared to 52% at the end of December 2019.
He explained that the corporate portfolio increased to about EGP 44bn by the end of 2020, an increase of 10% compared to the end of 2019, and the retail loan portfolio increased by 34.4% or about EGP 8.8bn, to reach about EGP 34.5bn by the end of 2020.
With regard to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Fayed explained that the bank achieved a growth rate of 6% in loans directed to this sector. The total portfolio amounted to EGP 14.7bn by the end of December 2020, compared to EGP 13.9bn by the end of December 2019.
There was an additional increase in the number of business centres specialised in serving customers of SMEs to 30 centres across the country.
With regard to the clients’ deposits portfolio, Fayed pointed out that this has achieved an increase of EGP 12bn, with a growth rate of 8%. It increased from EGP 151bn by the end of 2019 to EGP 163bn by the end of 2020. This came as a result of the bank providing a variety of innovative products, which suit the different needs of clients.
As part of the bank’s efforts in digital transformation, which it has been working on since the beginning of 2018, Fayed said that Banque du Caire has succeeded in launching a variety of digital services and products.
The most notable of these has been its mobile and internet banking facilities, which witnessed a surge in the number of subscribed customers in 2020. The number of customers reached 67,000, a growth rate of 570% compared to 2019.
He added that the “Qahera Cash” wallet was also restructured. Its customer base exceeded 500,000, with over a 10% usage, which is higher than the targets set by the CBE.
As a continuation of Banque du Caire’s efforts to develop electronic payment (e-payment) services, the bank obtained the CBE licence for e-payments via Point of Sale machines (POS). This comes as a addition to the digital payment package offered by the bank.
QR-Code e-payment services have witnessed a monthly growth rate of approximately 39%, with the total number of merchants reaching 34,514 up to late 2020.
Banque du Caire has also benefited from the initiative proposed by the CBE in June 2020, to which new merchants who did not have any means of e-payment services were added. The bank’s share in this has reached 54% of the total number of merchants included, until the end of 2020.
The year 2020 witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement with telecommunications provider, Etisalat, under which the bank would manage the company’s electronic wallet, as the banking partner.
It would provide a set of banking services suitable for customers who use the company’s wallet. The total number of customers benefiting from the mobile payment service at Banque du Caire (Qahera Cash and Etisalat Cash) exceeds 2 million.
The total number of credit cards with the bank by the end of 2020 reached about 136,000, an increase of 33%, with an estimated balance of EGP 576m, an increase of 55% compared to 2019.
The total portfolio of debit and prepaid cards amounted to about 2.4 million cards, an increase of 9%. The popularity of contactless cards increased among merchants by 137% by the end of 2020, compared to the end of 2019.
Efforts are being made to establish a company for digital and e-payments, according to Fayed, which will contribute to supporting expansion plans in the field of digital transformation and financial inclusion.
Banque du Caire has opened its first digital branch, whilst continuing to expand geographically. The bank’s existing branches are also being developed, and it currently has 241 branches and a banking unit in various governorates.
The number of Banque du Caire ATMs by the end of 2020 reached 1,050, with the bank planning to add 700 new ATMs before the end of 2021.
In support of financial inclusion, the bank participated in International Youth Day, by presenting a variety of promotional offers aimed at attracting a wide range of customers, especially youth and women.
It has also created a current account dedicated to serving the pension system, in cooperation with the National Authority for Social Insurance. This will ease the transfer of the end of service rewards and pensions for government sector employees.
In 2020, the bank’s policy was focused on the field of community work to support many sectors, most notably training and employment initiatives. It has done so by providing job opportunities for various segments of society, especially youth and women.
In support of the medical sector, the bank has developed and equipped a large number of hospitals across Egypt, whilst also supplying them with medical devices.
They include the Cairo University Hospitals, the Benha University Hospital, the Ahl Masr Burns Hospital, and the Dr Magdy Yaqoub Heart Foundation, among others.
During the coronavirus crisis, the bank pumped EGP 40m as part of the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) initiative. It equipped a building with the devices needed for COVID-19 patients to go through isolation/quarantine.
Banque du Caire has also provided ventilators and protective kits for doctors and nurses in many hospitals, while providing food aid to 22,000 families of irregular workers.
The CI Rating Agency for Credit Rating confirmed its B+ credit rating of Banque du Caire, with a stable outlook. This is the highest credit rating granted by the agency to an Egyptian bank.
It sheds light on the bank’s strengths and success in terms of achieving high profit rates, in addition to a high rate of return on assets, and the deposit base that the bank has.
The year 2020 also saw Banque du Caire occupy top positions in the rankings of major international assessment institutions, in appreciation of the bank’s outstanding performance in many sectors.
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