x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Emirates NBD eyes Turkey for opportunities

Emirates NBD is planning a big expansion of its consumer banking business as it details its plans for a new shared services subsidiary to drive down costs.

Emirates NBD is planning an overhaul of its customer service practices as it attempts to drive up the size of its consumer banking business.

The biggest bank in the UAE by assets, Emirates NBD is aiming to generate 50 per cent of group revenues from its retail banking operations, said Rick Pudner, the bank's chief executive.

"We're going to go back to basics and tweak our efficiencies," he said. "The key priority is making the bank hum. It's working well, but we need to fine-tune and make it more efficient."

The bank's international expansion would focus on organic growth, particularly in Saudi Arabia and India, though Mr Pudner signalled that the bank was seeking takeover targets in the Middle East as European banks look to sell assets in the region.

"Turkey is important to us, and we continue to search the region for what we think would be a good fit," he said.

The bank is also preparing for its first sukuk launch, which Mr Pudner said was due in December.

Mr Pudner was speaking on the sidelines of a conference to announce a tie-up between IBM and Tanfeeth, the bank's newly launched "shared services" subsidiary, which will seek efficiencies and cost savings across the entirety of the bank's operations. IBM will provide services and training as Tanfeeth establishes itself in the region.

"Banks come under pressure sometimes in terms of quality of service," Mr Pudner said. "This is a real key initiative for me as a banker to make sure my customer service improves significantly over the next few years. We're going to invest what we need to invest to make this work."

Emirates NBD has invested more than Dh100m in Tanfeeth, the first company of its kind in the Middle East.

Consumer lending accounted for Dh2.8bn of the bank's operating income in the third quarter, 38.4 per cent of the bank's total. However, this business is the most costly division in terms of general and administrative expenses of any of Emirates NBD's business.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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