Since entering the Egyptian market, Crédit Agricole Egypt has made its mark in helping bridge the gap between France and Egypt, supporting the former’s position as a strategic economic partner for the latter.
Jean-Pierre Trinelle, Managing Director of Crédit Agricole Egypt, noted that the bank is always keen to support the Egyptian economy, and plays an active role in several sectors in the country.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Trinelle reviewed the role the bank plays in Egypt, and the activities it is undertaking to support the Egyptian Government and the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) efforts in digital transformation.
He also noted the bank’s efforts in engaging in many projects to broaden its products and services on offer to customers in the Egyptian market.
What role does Crédit Agricole Egypt play in supporting economic cooperation between Egypt and France? How is the bank contributing to attracting foreign investments to Egypt?
Egypt has become a strategic economic partner for France. Over 160 French companies are established in Egypt, with total investments exceeding €5bn. During his recent visit to Egypt, the French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire announced that France will further increase its cooperation with Egypt, and will provide new financing support for projects covering renewable energy, water purification, and public transport, as well as education.
In this context, being part of the Number 1 financial institution in France, and the only French bank with a presence in Egypt, Crédit Agricole is definitely well positioned to promote investing in Egypt and facilitate access of French investments to the Egyptian market.
With a universal customer-centric approach, we strive to bring the best solutions to our clients combining the Group’s international expertise as well as our own extensive local knowledge. We are pleased to be the bank of choice for many French companies and multinationals in Egypt.
What sectors does Crédit Agricole Egypt prioritise funding for in Egypt?
At Crédit Agricole Egypt, we are always keen to support the Egyptian economy. We are active across many sectors, namely: Oil & Gas; infrastructure; transportation; pharmaceuticals; automotive; and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), among others.
We are already involved in the financing of very large national transportation or petrochemical projects, either directly or through the Group, such as the Cairo Metro system and the new monorail. We have already participated in several syndicated loans, out of which recently a $200m facility for the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO), where we acted as an Initial Mandated Lead arranger and Book-runner jointly with the consortium members.
What are the bank’s current development plans in Egypt?
Firstly, we have put our clients at the centre of our development plan in Egypt, and made excellent client satisfaction a key ambition of our bank.Our business development plans include further expediting the digital transformation, optimising its branch network, growing our client base while keeping the focus on the quality of the customer relationship.
The bank is engaged in many projects to broaden its products and services offering, such as the development of leasing products, the reinforcement of the mortgage finance, and the boosting of enterprises finance.
The bank has signed cooperation protocols respectively with the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund (SHMFF) and the Credit Guarantee Company (CGC) for the last two mentioned products. In addition, we have extended our partnership with Visa to continue to offer more innovative payment solutions to our customers.
We are also pursuing our initiative to support the transformation to a cashless society in Egypt, by converting selected community members access cards to payment cards. Accordingly, more services and offers are planned for the members of these communities namely the Shooting Club and Sporting Club [in Cairo], where we have already issued more than 300,000 payment cards.
Crédit Agricole Egypt is furthering its commitment to the environment by launching new green products to accompany customers in their energy efficiency and reduction of carbon footprint.
Digital development is a main axis in your strategy. How are you supporting companies through digital products?
The post-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic reality has prompted us to continue and even accelerate our digital development. We are continuously introducing new services and features to further consolidate our full-fledged platform of digital services “banki by Crédit Agricole” serving corporate and individual.
Our efforts have been rewarded since our platform was recently named “Most Innovative Digital Bank” in Egypt by Global Business Outlook.
To support companies, Crédit Agricole Egypt presents banki Business, which is an exhaustive online service and an excellent cash management tool, allowing clients to manage their accounts and payments seamlessly.
Not only that, but we have enriched banki Business with the addition of the digital trade finance service, to enable companies to implement their trade transactions remotely and conveniently.
Crédit Agricole Egypt is now preparing to launch the digital governmental payments and e-commerce services, having obtained for the later the electronic collection licence for companies with the approval of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).
We are very proud about our customers’ trust and satisfaction. At the end of March 2021, the number of transactions jumped by 150% in comparison to the same period last year.
Are you witnessing the same increase in digital transactions for individuals? What are your digital plans for them?
In terms of digital utilisation, the trend is going up since customers are relying more and more on online services following the pandemic. At the end of March 2021, for individuals, the number of transactions was up by 55%, and the number of usage times by 80% in comparison with the same period last year.
This is the result of constant enhancements to create a user-friendly experience meeting our customers’ expectations. The new version of our mobile app has become a one-stop shop for our customers.
In addition to payment, bill settlement and transfers, they can request different services, block or unblock their cards. In addition, they enjoy easier recognition through face identification.
To recognise our customers’ trust, we have released the newly revamped loyalty programme that was expanded to reward for the first time transactions made using the bank’s digital services in addition to all types of cards. The new digital loyalty programme “Happy Points” unlocks more rewards, accumulation and redemption of points in a seamless digital experience.
How did CAE contribute to mitigating the economic repercussions of COVID-19? How did you support the community?
Facing the pandemic, Crédit Agricole Egypt has placed its priority on supporting its customers and society, while maintaining its operations and ensuring staff, customers and stakeholders protection. In full alignment with the CBE’s comprehensive strategy, the bank has implemented the instructions, including fee waivers. It has also granted a six-month payment postponement for around 75,000 loans and cards for individuals and corporate customers impacted by COVID-19.
Particular attention was given to the corporate and small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers, as our teams have been mobilised to provide them with adequate solutions when possible, to go through the crisis. The bank has also implemented a focused action plan to encourage customers to resume repayment at the end of the moratorium.
To support society, the bank has integrated the corporate responsibility dimension within customer campaigns, including stimulating card utilisations through a cash back offer. This comes alongside the bank dedicating a part for the protection of medical teams, as well as encouraging and rewarding the utilisation of digital channels by giving a donation for each transaction to support the daily workers.
From its side, the Crédit Agricole Egypt Foundation actually has taken important initiatives to ease the impact of the pandemic. In 2020, the Foundation signed a cooperation protocol with the Ahl Misr Foundation to fund ventilators and ICU units for a number of public hospitals across the country.
The Foundation has also participated in the ‘Kheir w Baraka’ initiative, to support impacted daily-wage workers. In 2021, the Foundation contributed to the initiative of Tahya Misr Fund to support the provision of vaccinations against COVID-19.