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Bank of Alexandria: a focus on reform

Since taking over from Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar six months ago, the chairman of the Bank of Alexandria and of Egyptian American Bank (Bank of Alexandria's joint venture with American Express Bank), Mahmoud Abdel Latif, has been busy trying to get the bank in shape.

A former Citibanker and the former head of Chase Manhattan's regional operations, Mahmoud is one of the new generation of Egyptian bankers that have been brought in to run the ailing state banks.

The Bank of Alexandria is the smallest of Egypt's big four although it has the largest international operations. Like the rest of the big four, Bank of Alexandria has suffered from excessive bureaucracy, directed lending policies, and poor IT infrastructure.

Mahmoud Abdel Atif: one of
the new generation of Egyptian bankers

A new philosophy Since taking over at Bank of Alexandria, Mahmoud has worked aggressively to address the bank's non-performing loan ratio, estimated to be over 15.2%, and has brought in 15 senior managers from Citigroup and JPMorgan. The bank's new philosophy is to work closely with struggling clients to help them restructure their debt and to dispose of non-core assets.

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