Egypt Today: Banque du Caire joins the shareholding of IBAG, Western Union's first agent in Egypt, after purchasing a stake from Al Ahly Capital Holding - the National Bank of Egypt’s investment arm and Banque Misr. This strategic partnership extends to the participating banks' existing remittance services for Egyptian expatriates and IBAG's reach in receiving foreign remittances.
Banque du Caire's decision to join IBAG brings the total share of the three banks to 40%, while the original shareholder "Sarhank Group" percentage remains at 60%. This is a further testament to the success witnessed in receiving USD and Egyptian pound foreign remittances global.
IBAG is Western Union's first agent in Egypt since 1995, providing distinctive services to more than 2 million customers with a total remittance of 2.7 million transfers worth 1.6 billion USD in 2021, through its (38) branches in Egypt, in addition to (106) branches of the National Bank of Egypt and Banque Misr.
Mohammed El Etreby, Chairman of Banque Misr, said: "We are proud of this partnership which further supports Egypt's digital transformation agenda. The range of digital money transfer solutions the company offers is in line with Banque Misr's belief in the importance of financial inclusion. This further confirms our commitment to the directives of the Central Bank of Egypt in attracting informal remittances within the banking sector. Banque du Caire joining this strategic partnership is a step towards increasing foreign cash flows and currency in Egypt, especially remittances from Egyptians abroad."
El Etreby added that in light of Banque Misr's wide network and strong geographical footprint across all governorates, an agreement was signed to provide the service through selected Banque Misr branches. The service is available in 56 branches so far, with a future expansion plan, increasing the company's targeted customer base and efforts to integrating the informal remittance sector.
Hisham Okasha, CEO of the National Bank of Egypt and Al Ahly Capital Holding, stated that this partnership comes within the National Bank of Egypt and its investment arm's framework in supporting the country's strategy in digital transformation, expressing his pride in Banque du Caire joining this partnership. "This addition contributes to the increase of foreign exchange flows and remittances of funds of expatriate Egyptian workers, increasing the opportunities of attracting new categories of target customers to the banking sector through official financial transfer methods”.
“National Bank of Egypt continually strives to understand customer needs across various categories in efforts to provide them with a range of products and services that meet their needs, contributing to financial inclusion and a less-cash economy," confirms Okasha.
"The partnership with IBAG offers a platform to integrate with the non-banking financial sector and is a step towards digital transformation. This partnership allows us to benefit from IBAG's money transfer services, providing customers with a time-efficient effortless method through any of the IBAG counters within the bank's branch network. National Bank of Egypt customers can expect fast transfers and receipts, distinctive exchange rates, and various banking services that support digital transformation. This includes opening accounts, buying certificates and deposits in addition to the bank's digital banking services, such as electronic wallets and internet banking services," states Okasha.
Tarek Fayed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Banque du Caire, expressed the bank's pride in joining this strategic partnership with IBAG, which is in line with Banque Du Caire's continuous efforts to support money transfer services aligned with the Central Bank of Egypt's direction towards integrating informal money transfers to the banking sector and promoting financial inclusion.
Fayed highlighted that "this partnership eases the process of sending and receiving transfers for Egyptian expats and their families through Banque du Caire's wide network spanning Delta to Upper Egypt with a total of 248 branches. This contributes to increasing foreign exchange flows, particularly Egyptian expats' money transfers. The service is scheduled to start with selected branches and will gradually be available across the bank’s full network. This further increases our efforts in achieving financial inclusion while providing the best level of banking services to customers. We intend to enhance the integration between IBAG and our subsidiaries within Banque du Caire's strategic framework to develop and diversify the services provided to clients."
Moustapha Sarhank, Executive Chairman of IBAG, stated that "this step is a practical implementation of our strategic plan aimed at directing informal transfers into the banking sector, where the target customer base will expand through a network of branches in the three largest banks in Egypt while offering their banking services. This boosts financial inclusion and attracts a large segment of society that does not deal with banks within the banking system."
Sarhank added that this step would not have been achieved without the support of the Central Bank of Egypt and its belief in the company's pivotal role in increasing one of the primary sources of state revenue from foreign exchange by maximizing remittances from Egyptian expats. "We have witnessed unparalleled cooperation from the bank's leadership, management, and board. As part of our strategic vision, we are currently exploring digital solutions and trends to money transfers and mobile wallets, building on Western Union's global experience and the know-how of our partners Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt, & Banque du Caire. Our main objective is to achieve financial inclusion, which will positively impact the national economy."