Transaction Banking – at the core of Mashreq’s pandemic response
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Karim Labadi, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Mashreq Bank sat down (remotely) with Richard Banks, Editor, Euromoney LiveStreams to talk about the impact of the pandemic on GTB and the future of the Mashreq platform.
Euromoney: How did you respond to the challenges brought by lockdown?
Karim Labadi, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Mashreq Bank
KL: Digital transformation and mobility have been at the forefront of Mashreq’s strategy for several years. As a result, when the lockdown was imposed, we were able to almost immediately operate at 90% capacity, which we quickly increased to 97%, to ensure staff and customer safety. There are certainly numerous lessons learned. The first lesson was the importance and value of a truly robust and clear business continuity plan. The second lesson learned from the pandemic was that we not only needed to continue our digital transformation journey but to accelerate it.
During this crisis, we have been experiencing a massive surge in demand for cash management services via our Mashreq Matrix digital platform. Approximately 85% of transactions were conducted through this platform. To achieve this, we needed to realign our internal resources rapidly to meet this surge in demand.
For our customers, we helped them manage their finances across three core pockets of liquidity; daily working capital needs for salary and supplier payments; reserve liquidity needs for for dividend payments to investors; and strategic liquidity for payments for acquisitions or capex. All these services were delivered via our Matrix platform which is tightly integrated to the wider financial and payments infrastructure such as Swift.
Euromoney: Why is transaction banking important?
KL: In my view, there are three main benefits from Transaction Banking. The first benefit is that Transaction Banking helps banks build a stable long-term funding base. Second, customised Transaction Banking experiences are a key customer need and providing these experiences deepens the bank/client relationship significantly. The third benefit is the insight it gives banks into customer’s cash-flows - by capturing data on both payments and collections - for customising bespoke solutions to permanently address customer’s pain areas, if any.
For customers it provides a range of solutions which can be integrated into ERP systems and provide seamless Straight Through Processing which is vital for companies that operate across various jurisdictions and with multiple operating entities.
Euromoney: What’s next for Mashreq Transaction banking?
KL: We are going to continue to invest in people, in process efficiency and in technology. The pandemic has proven that innovation is a key driver of our success. We are already competing vigorously with the big players regionally and locally and many of our services have won numerous awards and are considered best in the market. We are niche player, and we deliver a personalised approach that highlights quality, efficiency, innovation and superior customer experience. We will continue to invest in this area to cement our position in the market as an advanced digital bank.