The COO area continues to be the main enabling arm for CIB’s business growth plans and transformation strategy, with ongoing focus on delivering the latest technologies to allow for new services and products, in addition to increasing productivity and efficiency across the Bank while reducing the cost to serve. This entails collaboration across all of COO area departments in alignment with business needs, as they all complement each other to enhance the Bank’s entire ecosystem.
The COVID-19 pandemic stayed on the forefront during 2021, and precautionary measures were taken to ensure employee safety and business continuity during this unprecedented time. To ensure the COVID-19 business continuity plan is applied, the Contact Center was operating from four sites during Q1 2021, and a complete business plan was set in place to allow employees to work remotely or from different sites.
Accommodating business growth was key across all departments and in light of the ongoing global revolution in automation and digital technologies; it was mandatory not only to adopt but also to maximize the utilization of available technologies.
Adopting robotic process automation (RPA) technology was one of main strategies, and it has been successfully utilized to automate processes. This approach will continue during 2022 to maximize the benefits realized out of this technology. The RPA journey continues to automate processes on both front and back ends aiming to enhance customer experience and TAT.
Channel and key customer touch point augmentation is an ongoing practice. Expanding our ATM network to 1,284 ATMs was achieved smoothly, as well as the replacement of outdated machines to comply with CBE requirements. We also increased our branch network to 215 branches during the year. The reduction in staff on premises allowed us to renovate our headquarters and complete other projects, including the New Capital project and Core and Shell.
On the real estate front, alignment with regulatory requirements progressed as a state-of-the-art surveillance solution was implemented across the Bank. Real Estate and Premises Projects successfully passed and fulfilled the second surveillance audit for the ISO - 9001⁄2015 for Quality Management System certification.
As part of CIB management’s efforts to improve operational efficiency, working environment, staff quality of life, and employees’ engagement and loyalty, a program to implement flexible work arrangements (FWA) was rolled out. It includes a permanent work-from-home model, flexible working hours, new remote work technology (VDI) and tools, new performance KPIs, and updated/new HR policies. The program successfully completed enrollments of phase 1 (10% of the bank population) to the FWA VDI platform, and it is currently in the middle of phase 2, which will cover the remaining FWA job enrollments of approximately 40% of the total bank population.
Throughout the year, all compliance requirements were given the highest priority and focus, along with expediting all regulatory complaints, to ensure the utmost diligence is provided to the requirements pertaining to this sector.
In 2021, agility was the center of attention when implementing bank-wide transformation and delivering management processes in coordination with all of CIB business pillars and supporting functions in order to reach a faster time to market, especially for digital products and the delivery of services.
Information Technology plays a vital role in the execution of the CIB Digital strategy and Bank of the Future program. This is being addressed through the implementation of new services over CIB digital channels aiming to shift customers from branches, which are considered high-cost channels, to digital channels, which are deemed low-cost channels, while addressing the end-to-end process to achieve straightthrough processing (STP), enhance turn-around time (TAT), and improve overall operational efficiency. In addition, customer demands and expectations and market competition mandate faster time to market.
All these changes require rapid implementation momentum with services stability, availability, and resilience to satisfy internal and external customer needs. IT had exerted extensive effort to stabilize CIB services, while avoiding any business disruption, and worked relentlessly on delivering the Bank’s transformational program across with all the COO area and business stakeholders.
To create a better synchronized work environment and optimize staff productivity across IT, a new working model was established by two main work-streams in IT with Change-the-Bank and IT Run-the-Bank Organization Structure. IT Run-the- Bank arm leads the technological operational activities to ensure the availability, integrity, security, and adequate support for all production IT systems. As for Change-the-Bank arm, the focus is on providing the required support to the different lines of business (LOBs) functions across the Bank in achieving their plans and strategy through the application of broad business information, understanding, and partnership with various LOBs. This is deemed to have a positive impact on projects delivery TAT in tandem with enhancing the efficiency of BAU activities.
All of this ongoing collaboration has one sole aim: to enhance customer satisfaction, experience, and journey, an aim that is engrained in the Bank’s vision and mission and is upgraded year-on-year by introducing more service indicators and conducting tailored surveys to ensure that one of the Bank’s main values is always achieved, loyal customers are retained, and business growth targets are met.
Over the last couple of years, Africa has become an important piece of the geopolitical landscape. On the African front and in line with the Kenya expansion strategy in Mayfair Bank, steps were taken to enhance digitization through implementing and going live with internet banking, which exports the CIB customercentric strategy across the border to neighboring African countries. This serves the Bank’s mission to transfer our culture and ensure that CIB is a role model organization, not just on the local level but, more importantly, on the regional and international levels.
The Operations group continues to focus on reducing the current operating costs by applying the optimum cost synergies in context of many forms, starting from migrating more services to our digital channels for branch back-office services and activities, improving our STP rates, and promoting the existing automation tools, such as RPA, not only for branch staff but also across the centralized operating areas.
Successful full rollout of the centralization of selected services across the whole branch network took place in 2021. This initiative has also included the introduction of a new delivery concept for customer requests to enhance customer experience while reducing customer visits to the branch network.
Furthermore, a complete, deep analysis of branch back-office transactional behavior was conducted to support senior management using data analysis, a trend the Bank embeds in its business acumen in order to have a clear view on the headcount and staff requirements in each branch for better resource utilization based on solid data and a scientific methodology.
RPA has been successfully utilized in processing swift payments received, as robotic process automation is an important capability that helps with the necessary speed and agility required to meet the rapidly changing demands of customers and maintain operational efficiencies.
In coordination with Learning and Development, digitalized integrated content on trade finance was developed internally to enhance the required trade knowledge provided to staff and set CIB as an organization that relies on staff advancement and knowledge to provide best-in-class service. These programs are currently hosted on the CIB Learning Center and ‘E3raf ’ portal through the CIB intranet.
The exponential increase of new subscribers to online channels in 2021 in comparison with 2020 was due to facilitating different services and features on internet and mobile banking, such as transfer limit increase across all segments, availing opening new accounts, the buying of CD and TD services, and adding an easier method for registration through ID and account numbers to ensure an overall enhanced experience and support the Bank’s digital migration strategy.
In line with providing advanced customer experience, a new Post-Dated Cheques HUB was set up at Smart Village to receive cheques, which will significantly impact TAT positively for corporate loan payoffs and bookings.
As customer experience is the main objective for the Bank across the Board, annual customer satisfaction surveys took place on both the segments and digital banking level. Customer satisfaction and NPS level were as per the regional benchmark. As for the channels, customer satisfaction improved across all channels and exceeded the benchmark, which confirms the impact of efforts, focus, and technological transformation given to digital banking over the last couple of years. Customers were highly satisfied with the diversity, availability, and user-friendly experience provided through the different channels.
Lastly, the impact of the ongoing transformation strategy is witnessed on many levels, especially in Operations, the Bank’s backbone. During 2021, the Operations department succeeded in absorbing the transactional increase in different services with the same headcount, especially with the rollout of Bank of the Future program where a number of different services were offloaded from branches by availing them on the different promoted digital channels and reducing their transactional cost. This runs in tandem with the branch back-office optimization project, with one of the major outputs aiming to improve certain back-office activities, which consume lengthy TAT, and ease processes for our back-office staff.
Security and Resilience Management
By striving for excellence and working toward providing outstanding stakeholder value through providing best-in-class financial solutions to individuals and enterprises, CIB has always taken its business continuity and the protection of its customers’ services and information as a top priority. With the continuous spread of COVID-19 around the world and the emergence of new variants, focus on continuity and resilience was maintained to sustain the level of precautionary measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and maintain safety inside all CIB premises. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, and in an effort to lower the transmission rate and spread of the virus in our community, the Bank initiated a COVID-19 vaccination program to avail vaccinations for all CIB staff and their family members, ensuring the safety of our employees and customers. As of January 2022, a total of approximately 7,000 employees and family members were vaccinated, with almost 5,000 in the Ein el Sira, MoH Medical Center, and 2,371 at CIB vaccination hubs on CIB premises.
Focus was also directed toward enhancing our customers’ cybersecurity awareness over different channels and managing evolving threats around digital fraud and cyber security risks to improve our customers’ banking experience, while controlling fraud and defending against the latest applications’ security threats.
In alignment with the Bank’s customer-centric strategy and efforts to secure our customers’ data and ensure proper privacy and protection controls are in place, the Bank has successfully finalized the Data Classification and Protection program, with the key objective of enforcing the adequate handling mechanisms and measures to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the Bank’s data and prevent unauthorized access or disclosure over different channels, including e-mails, internet, and removable media. Efforts were also focused on enhancing our organizational resilience to effectively manage emerging risks and enhance our visibility and response capabilities to different threats through ensuring our Security Operations Center (SOC) maturity is aligned with global best practices and standards, aiming for continuous improvement and being closely consistent with the financial sector’s industry maturity benchmarks.
To enhance the Bank’s visibility over the cyber threat landscape, CIB has also enriched the existing Brand Protection Services to gain further insights on new threats with more intelligence sources and extend the Bank’s presence and visibility while taking proactive measures to protect its brand.
In support of the financial inclusion direction of the country, and as the Bank continues to expand its digital footprint and reach for untapped segments, Security and Resilience management moves hand in hand to maintain the Bank’s position in the market as “The Bank to Trust” through further enhancing the reliability of our services and systems, focused on having solid footprints of compliance to regulations, standards, and best practices. For the second year, the Bank has successfully maintained its ISO 27001 certification for the Information Security Management System covering alternative channels and digital services, as well as the contact center and data center. CIB has also been able to successfully maintain its Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certification for the fourth year and assure full compliance with SWIFT Customer Security Program requirements. The Bank has also maintained its ISO 22301 certification for Business Continuity Management covering all the Bank’s services and related operations for the fourth year.
The current technological market trends and the way the financial market is moving deemed it necessary for CIB business to exert extensive effort and progress to achieve strategic goals and position CIB as a market leader within financial institutes, not only locally but also regionally.
In response to the Bank’s business strategy, IT is continuing the journey that started in 2019 to support the business in achieving its strategic vision, targets, and aspirations.
This year marked the start of implementing open banking architecture as one of the main business strategies that will enable other fintechs and big corporates to directly interact with CIB banking systems. The implementation of the required platforms to support this strategic direction was designed through launching a set of programs:
- API Gateway – enabling other systems to be connected to CIB systems
- Payment Hub – enabling automated payment capabilities with full visibility on customers’ payment analytics and transaction volumes.
In tandem, work is done to modernize the enterprise service bus—main CIB middleware—which connects CIB systems together and supports microservices architecture, utilizing state-of-art and latest technologies for CIB to continue to be one of the most advanced technological financial organization within the Egyptian Market. This will be reflected in better automated environments by sizing and optimizing infrastructure resource utilization, leading to a reduction in business services operational cost and resulting in more dynamic competition and services pricing in the market.
Mobility has become a vital tool in facing the COVID-19 impact on organizations. IT supported the Office Anywhere strategy for CIB by providing the required infrastructure and solutions to the Flex project by availing all of the required collaboration, remote office access, and meeting management tools. This was positively reflected on how the flexible working hours program is managed, which is considered a new progressive business standard and lifestyle model in the market. Such capabilities allowed CIB to effectively overcome the COVID-19 impact on the organization and human capital.
On the digital front, there is a continued successful implementation of a full transformational journey across all of the banking segments to automate and digitize the CIB business pillars as Consumer, SME, and Corporate. IT is working with business stakeholders and a complete program for retail and corporate banking is running to revamp and modernize customer interaction and experience. This journey enables the business to provide personalized services and products to customers driven by data analytics, embedding segmentation, and studying customer behavioral trends through utilizing the latest technologies and platforms to make this journey achievable with minimal business disruption and enhanced agility. Additional capabilities are also being added to support the automated credit decision and the financial analysis of customers’ financial data in order to enhance the services’ provisioning to customers and optimize the products’ TAT.
On the compliance and risk side, executing the required strategy to enhance the compliance and risk capabilities is witnessed through steady and stable steps taken to enable the business to minimize current transactional risks and implement all of the regulatory requirements with no delays, all while utilizing the maximum automation capabilities with optimum accuracy through the best tools within the market.
In order to support the rapid implementation momentum and ensure service stability across the Bank’s platforms to maintain availability and resilience and satisfy customer needs, focus was given to stabilize services, avoiding any business disruption while massive changes are in progress over the Bank’s technological landscape. To achieve the required business strategies, the setup of all technology platforms and infrastructure is being diligently maintained and monitored to ensure meeting regional benchmarks.
The RPA journey within CIB is being heavily utilized, which will be reflected on staff optimization activities done across the Board and the enablement of automation capabilities across different systems. Within the technology processes and interaction models, IT is performing a revamp of processes for enhancement purposes, minimizing bottlenecks and streamlining functions. In addition to this, different process automation activities are being done in order to minimize human interaction, which will be positively reflected on decreasing human errors and optimizing productivity and project delivery.
On the network side, virtualization and the enhancement of the monitoring and control of infrastructure is in place. Along with the automation streams, all of this will support the Bank’s Go to Market strategy. This will expedite the delivery process and provide self service capabilities, while optimizing the efficiency of security measures and resources.