Globally, the traditional industries are facing disruption through the proliferation of a digital society; the financial sector is no different. Digital transformation is not just important, it is imperative. Banks like Mashreq are embracing the change, and are realigning their business models to expedite the digital migration, by investing and building digital capabilities that meet the expectations of an always connected consumer.

Mashreq is setting the precedent for everyday banking in the region, and is already seeing its market share increasing as a result of its innovative leadership. Omni channel banking is moving towards ‘Digital channel’ banking. The customer is not choosing either physical channels or digital channels — they are choosing both. For this reason, all aspects of smart banking are equally important and Mashreq has taken this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the banking sector in this space.

From our multi-award winning, state-of-the-art digital branches, to our mobile and online banking platforms, the emphasis remains one of customer centricity. Our objective is to give our customers the most rewarding banking relationship, and as such the most important aspect of our digital transformation journey is delighting the customer with an everyday banking experience, that is secure, and above all trusted.

Never before has the banking industry been so prone to disruption as it is today. The proliferation of the smartphone, tablets and the internet of things has created a whole new generation of customers, who are looking for easy and reliable access to financial services anywhere and at any time. The widespread adoption of digital channels across the globe, and even more so in the UAE, means that if banks are to remain relevant and competitive with the disruptive threats of non-banks, they simply must transform at the grassroots level.

The move towards digital banking is not just about technology enablement, but a mindset change on which banks must embark. For consumers new and old, banking is no longer a place you go; it is just something you do. Banks are therefore looking to digitise their business models, forge ‘everyday’ relationships with their customers, and are fast realising they are in the business of selling trust and transparency – in short, financial inclusion for all.

Online presence & innovation
The company has four e-portals contributing hugely in bringing innovation in the Property, Business Banking, E-Commerce & Financial Literacy verticals, namely Mashreq Property Mart, Mashreq SEMXchange, Mashreq Store and Foloosy portal. The last Foloosy is a first-of-its-kind in the Middle East and was set up under the guidance and futuristic vision of our CEO.

In bringing innovative customer engagement via the mobile devices to boost spends and retention, three significant app enhancements and additions were made starting with the most popular MAX2 with a brilliant new look and feel with a host of new features.

Mashreq Flavours was re-launched with a fresh new interface powered with 1,800 national and 1,300 international outlets plus unique integration with Timeout Dubai giving our customers access to a wealth of offers on the go.

Lastly, Foloosy’s online presence was extended to the mobile space with the launch of Foloosy App, which also featured interactive learn, explore and play features. This outstanding performance of our website has been twice recognized with industry awards — once by Banker Middle East as the Best Web & Mobile site and once by Global Finance as the Best Consumer Website Design & Best Integrated Consumer Bank Website in 2014.

His Excellency AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, CEO, Mashreq Bank

His Excellency AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, CEO, Mashreq Bank

Online banking
UAE’s popular Mashreq Online banking platform has nurtured and empowered more than 200,000 customers this year with exceptional user experience second to none in the region, an array of rich features which boast the best in class and industry best security standards. It recorded 36% YOY growth with close to 100,000 unique logins, the highest ever in the history of online banking in Mashreq.

International Bill Payment (no bank in the world offers this feature), Integration with Mashreq Securities and Emaratech, Video Chat for Mashreq Gold customers, Personal Finance Manager, Cardless Cash and customer propensity based targeted new Cross-Sell model are a select few features out of the 50+ new features introduced in 2014.

The online banking platform for retail customers was upgraded to build new features and functionalities, and enhance the robustness of the platform for security, which keeps evolving with the times to combat any potential threats.

A transactional platform — SME Direct — exclusively built for the Business Banking segment was introduced. It focuses on the needs and aspirations of small and medium enterprises banking with us.

The next ideal step in the channel life cycle of online banking was to offer investment services to our retail customers. This was enabled by extending the Mashreq Securities integration with MashreqOnline, which enabled customers to view their investments directly from MashreqOnline and even login to Mashreq Securities for further investments.

Proudly, this year too we managed to continue the legacy — Banker Middle East and Global Finance both acknowledged and awarded MashreqOnline as the Best Consumer Internet Bank and Best Online Bill Payment services in 2014.

Mobile banking
The future of banking lays in the hands of mobile technologies being maximised in providing the banking services with the most simple but comprehensive set of functionalities by making technology transparent and merging convenience with mobility. This is exactly what Snapp managed to do this year. Three hardcore numbers — 101k Snapp users (120% YOY growth), 64k registered users (34% YOY growth) and unique logins reaching as high as 33k (57% YOY growth) in the month of December 2014 alone – are a clear indicator of the trust placed by our customers on our mobile banking channel.

This year, this channel too upgraded the user interface (UI) for enhanced user experience and. It was well received by users resulting in more than 27k monthly unique logins, better adoption and usage, which is evident in the numbers above. Snapp also reflected Mashreq Securities & Emaratech integration, International Bill Payments, Cardless Cash withdrawal and various other features to make this channel feature-rich and one stop “on the go” banking channel.

For all the good reasons, Snapp also grabbed three awards for being the Best Mobile Banking channel in the Middle East for 2014 (Banker Middle East), Best Mobile Phone Banking (Asian Banker) and Best Mobile Banking in UAE (International Finance Magazine).