Mashreq Bank launches e-banking services in UAE

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair today introduced ebanking services and a new corporate logo for Mashreq Bank customers in the UAE.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  May 8, 2001

Mashreq Bank customers in the UAE now have access to the majority of their banking services online. The bank, which has previously invested heavily in call centre technology, held that e-banking services were a natural extension of its customer-centric approach. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank indicated at the Dubai Press Club that e-banking was part of the bank’s efforts to “provide an integrated and comprehensive delivery system as part of the entire banking strategy.” The online platform promises to provide full functionality and is to be further enhanced in line with customer demand.

Al Ghurair, admitted the bank had been slow to adopt online facilities for its clients. The unveiling of the ebanking platform www.Mashreqbank.com makes Mashreq the 19th bank in the Arab Middle East to offer web based transaction initiation services. However, having made the decision to move online, the development of services was completed in record time. “Except for the infrastructure, it took 100 days to produce the retail banking application and the web site,” said Mohamed Fouz, vice president and head of technology. The bank’s strategy was to create the platform in house rather than outsource the project as most of the regional banks have done.

Most financial institutions incorporate ebanking to provide a greater breadth of services to their customers and reduce overhead costs. Steven Pinto, head of retail banking did not rule out that minimising cost was a factor but did emphasize that the primary objective was the convenience of the Mashreq’s customers.

As of today, the online facility will be free and the range of services on the retail-banking front include loan applications, domestic and international money transfers, consolidated account statements, electronic bill payment and monitoring of credit cards. Mashreq has extended electronic services also to commercial and correspondent banking.

With the introduction of e-banking, Mashreq had to face the issue of internet security. Al Ghurair emphasized that Mashreq undertook the services of three security guard companies to ensure the protection of online transactions. Furthermore, Mashreq’s in-house platform is open system based, uses 128-bit encryption and is server side inclined with no need for users to upgrade their servers.

Mashreq is not new to the web; its corporate site has already attracted 399,000 visitors in the past month and “our challenge will be to persuade our customers to utilize the new facility” said Al Ghurair.

Online trading and ebrokerage services will also be considered as part of an evolving ebanking strategy that is based on customer demand and expectations.

Al Ghurair also used today’s press conference to launch Mashreq’s new logo. The new log reflects the fact ebanking will offer customer 24-hour service. The company has tagged to “the sun never sets for you.” Mashreq Bank has incurred a cost of over Dhs 10 million for a new corporate logo in addition to the substantial costs associated with the launch of an e-banking strategy.

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