Mashreq Bank Unveils New Digital Bank in UAE
The breakneck innovation in the UAE on-line banking sector received a major fillip on Sunday with Mashreq Bank entering the fray by unveiling a full-service digital bank - Mashreq Neo.
Announcing what it termed a new era initiative, the bank indicated that plans are under way to halve the number of its branches over the next three years, leading up to 20 per cent downsizing of its employees in retail services.
Mashreq, the third largest UAE lender by assets, has 44 branches in the Emirates, and a retail presence in other countries in the region including Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. It has more than 4,000 employees.
Mashreq Neo, the latest initiative by a UAE bank to cater to the needs of a world on the move, will be completely branchless, and is targeted towards the connected generation "who are digitally savvy, use mobile devices extensively, and will immerse users in a brilliant digital experience," the bank said.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank, said with the launch of Mashreq Neo, the bank entered a new era in the digitisation of retail banking. "As customers adopt and embrace new technologies, Mashreq will lead with new digital capabilities that enable banking in a convenient and secure manner."
Mashreq is the third bank in the UAE, after Commercial Bank of Dubai and Emirates NBD, to jump into the digitisation bandwagon, a potential key contributor to the nation's Smart Government initiative.
However, Mashreq Neo is the first digital bank in the GCC region to provide access to international markets for investment opportunities including foreign equities, gold trading and foreign currency accounts, according to Subroto Som, Mashreq Bank's Head of Retail Banking Group. "Mashreq Neo was created in response to the fast-evolving customer behaviours which we observed in the UAE," said Som. He said Mashreq is going branchless because its aim is to embed banking into the daily life of its busy customers, and not force customers to come to bank branches. "Neo is not just an account, or credit card, or digital wallet - it a full-service bank with a strong suite of retail banking products, in the palm of your hand," said Som.
All banking services including customer on-boarding, sales, services, transactions and fulfillment are done via online and mobile platforms, and hence they will not need to visit a branch.
Customers will be extensively supported for all their ongoing needs via multiple channels including a dedicated call centre, Neo mobile banking app, Neo Online, and the Neo Chatbot which is integrated with Facebook Messenger.
Mashreq Neo is the only digital bank in the UAE, which will offer a strong suite including credit cards, debit cards, current accounts, personal loans, remittances, foreign currencies, global stock trading, gold trading, and foreign currency investment capabilities. Customers will be able to open an account in less than five minutes with Mashreq Neo.
"With the advent of new technology solutions for payments in the UAE and globally, Mashreq Neo will offer the most comprehensive set of payment capabilities, such as Samsung Pay wallet, Mashreq Pay wallet, International bill payment to over 100 countries, cardless cash from ATMs, Mobile-to-Mobile transfers and remittances locally and globally," the bank said.
Customers will be able to trade instantly and buy stocks in global stock markets including London, New York and many more stock exchanges. Customers can trade in over 30,000 stocks across 100+ stock exchanges around the world. They can also buy and sell gold and foreign currencies instantly via the Neo trading platform.
Banks in the UAE are increasingly stepping on the innovation pedal, driven by the need to keep up with the digital wave in order to stay relevant and competitive. Banking industry experts predict dramatic changes in the next five years mainly due to technological disruptions. Factors like blockchain, artificial intelligence, robotics and data mining will be the major trends going forward, which will completely change the way we work, they said.
According to the study a McKinsey & Company, the penetration of digital channels in the UAE and Saudi Arabia is relatively high compared to markets in Asia.
Mashreq has provided banking and financial services to millions of customers and businesses since 1967.
We are one of UAE's leading financial institutions with a growing retail presence in the region including Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. We focus on providing our customers access to a wide range of innovative products and services.
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