For the second year in a row, banks active in the Egyptian market are strongly involved in the Arab Financial Inclusion Week, which started several days ago and continues until the end of April.
Tarek Fayed, chairperson and CEO of Banque du Caire, said that the bank is participating for the second consecutive year in the activities of the Arab Week for Financial Inclusion organized by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to raise awareness and culture among all segments of the population and facilitate access to financial services.
He pointed out that the campaign of financial inclusion contributes to the transformation of the Egyptian culture towards banking, stressing the importance of spreading the culture of bank awareness among all segments of society, especially women and youth over 16 years of age, next to being present in Upper and Lower Egypt, along with rural areas that lack appropriate banking services.
He added that Banque du Caire is keen to offer a variety of promotional offers aimed at attracting a wide range of customers, including opening bank accounts for new customers without administrative expenses and without a minimum balance. The bank also reduced annual fees by 50% for the first year. Moreover, it will be issuing prepaid Easy Cards for youth during the campaign.
Hazem Hegazy, deputy chairperson of Banque du Caire, said that the bank will be present in 35 locations, including malls, clubs, and universities, everywhere in Egypt.
He added that there is a plan to expand the bank’s branch network and ATM machines and to provide additional banking services to fit all community segments, along with a Mobile Wallet programme.
According to Hegazy, Banque du Caire’s efforts in the financial inclusion week also include the distribution of leaflets to bank employees and customers within the branches during the campaign, as well as the launch of campaign vehicles in all governorates, villages, and hamlets to promote banking services. He noted that the bank will continue its new strategy to enhance awareness of the banking sector among citizens.
Elsayed Elkosayer, chairperson of the Agricultural Bank of Egypt (ABE), said that the bank has started implementing the directives of the CBE for the financial inclusion week, which extends over two weeks.
Elkosayer said that the bank’s 1,210 branches are now offering banking services outside the branches, where employees of the bank are present at clubs, villages, hamlets, and universities to provide banking services to all clients, especially low-income citizens.
He added that, in implementation of CBE’s directives, the bank is opening new bank accounts for new clients with no fees and without a minimum balance, while annual fees are cut by at least 50%.
Furthermore, he said that the bank’s efforts in merging new segments to utilise banking services come in implementation of the directives from the political leadership, which is aimed at merging all segments of society to benefit from banking services.
He pointed out that the bank is fully qualified to be a gateway to financial inclusion because of the special nature of its clients, who are usually farmers in need of financial and banking services, as well as youth and women, along with owners of micro and small projects.
He explained that the Agricultural Bank of Egypt, with its network of 1,210 branches, is the most widespread in Egypt, pointing out that this spread can reach most areas lacking banking services.
He added that the bank also has a rich experience in financing micro, small, and medium enterprises, most of which are from the target groups, through the initiatives launched by the bank itself or the initiatives launched by the CBE that aim at developing small enterprises and livestock development.
“Financial inclusion is a global trend aimed at strengthening the economies of countries by integrating the informal economy into the formal economy by using all banking and financial services for different sectors of the society with its institutions and individuals, especially the least developed and low-income groups, through the official channels of the financial and banking sectors. This bypasses illegal channels that lack supervision. This is ABE’s path and one of its mission points in the coming period,” he said.