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Digitally focused and customer centric

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Mr. Hussein Abaza​, Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Commercial International Bank (CIB)

The response of Commercial International Bank (CIB) to the coronavirus crisis can be seen as validation of a long-term strategy to become a more customer-centric and sustainable organization.

Coronavirus has created enormous challenges in Egypt, as in many other parts of the world. But even before the onset of the pandemic, CIB had embarked on a comprehensive digital transformation programme, which included expanding its digital services – an approach that provided a crucial advantage when restrictions were imposed.

The bank has enhanced its existing platforms to accommodate an influx of new users. It created offline requests to allow clients to perform more transactions through online and mobile banking services and waived fees and in-person transaction requirements, significantly reducing the number of customers in its branches.

As part of its digital transformation strategy, CIB has embraced the ‘ABCD’ of the future –artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and data. It utilizes data science and analytics to better serve customers and provide them with tailored products and services that cater to their ever-changing needs. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of accessibility and the bank has addressed this by creating innovative, easy-to-use, remote tools for customers of all ages and educational and social backgrounds.

When banks implement sustainable finance, they reinforce sustainability as a core business strategy and provide a platform to integrate sustainability and environmental, social and governance principles across their organization

Employee skills development is a crucial component of CIB’s corporate social responsibility activities. It firmly believes in developing and encouraging individuals through a diverse, enabling and inclusive workplace.

CIB’s learning and development department offers needs-based learning programmes tailored to specific employees, groups and departments, defined through an annual training needs analysis. In line with its vision to host the best talents, it provides education and training to employees at all levels and positions.

This is carried out through in-class learning with qualified trainers (in partnership with external parties) and e-learning. Employees are given equal opportunity to attend training according to their needs and the needs of the organization.

Career maps for all CIB employees were automated in 2019 are and transparently communicated. Digital learning was expanded to include more topics in finance, economics, globalization and technology, management and leadership, sales and marketing.

A number of e-learning sessions were launched to increase awareness of topics such as reputational risk and HR policies, while other topics were tailored to specific teams, such as corporate banking, credit and investment exposure management, debt capital markets and business banking.

Investment in human capital through training and certification continues to be a key focus. More than 347,000 training hours were completed last year, and 2019 also saw the first graduates of the Financial Control School, an in-house training facility delivered by top professionals providing applicants with both theoretical and practical training.

When banks implement sustainable finance, they reinforce sustainability as a core business strategy and provide a platform to integrate sustainability and environmental, social and governance principles across their organization. This is the goal of CIB’s new sustainable finance division, which was established in recognition of the fact that, as Egypt’s leading private sector bank, CIB has a responsibility to establish a standard of transparent sustainability reporting among its clients and the Egyptian financial sector.

CIB was the first Egyptian bank to officially establish a sustainable development department in 2012. Sustainable activities undertaken by the bank over the past eight years have helped promote and strengthen its brand both locally and internationally. Sustainability has become central to its activities and evolved in line with international best practices.

As a member of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, CIB has worked with other leading domestic, regional and international financial institutions to promote sustainable practices in the global financial sector.

CIB was one of the founding signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking, committing to strategically align its business with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

CIB has also partnered with Visa’s ‘She’s Next’ initiative to support women business owners and female entrepreneurship in Egypt. Indeed, it has been at the forefront of women’s empowerment through its efforts to promote financial inclusion and economic independence.

This is in line with the bank’s strategy to support small- and medium-sized enterprises and women’s empowerment to help sustain business growth, an objective that is especially pertinent during these difficult times. It is CIB’s hope that this will positively impact women entrepreneurs in Egypt and across the region by connecting them with industry experts who can equip them with the knowledge and tools to grow their business through funding, lending, personal development and marketing support.

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