Mohamed Abbas Fayed, deputy chairperson and managing director of Bank Audi-Egypt, said that 2017 will be a year full of challenges, as well as opportunities for banks operating in the Egyptian market.
He explained that the most important challenges expected in 2017 are the implications of economic reform and the time needed for reviving the economy, as well as the exchange rate volatility in the period following the flotation of the Egyptian pound.
He added that exchange rate stability depends on the expected inflows of foreign currency, increased tourism, exports, and direct and indirect investment rates.
According to Fayed, the high interest rates, and what they represent in terms of pressure on the bank’s expenses, versus the low volume of loans, will form more challenges for banks.
He added that 2017 will also be full of opportunities to support manufacturers and exporters, who may take advantage of the low price of the Egyptian pound to penetrate foreign markets.
Regarding the key sectors that Bank Audi will focus on financing in 2017, Fayed said that the bank aims to finance the industrial sector, including food and beverages, as well as medicine, production inputs, exports, and basic commodities trade.
He added that the bank will also focus on financing and supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to bridge the productivity gap for some products, in addition to supporting the construction sector.
Fayed pointed out that Bank Audi aims to increase the size of its SMEs loans to EGP 6bn within four years, up from a current volume of EGP 1bn.
He noted that the bank has designed an ambitious plan for this purpose, along with working hard on sustainable development to grant funding to SMEs and provide them with banking services, which comes in line with the initiative posed by the Central Bank of Egypt to stimulate the growth of this sector.
He said that the bank offers many specialised programmes to micro, small, and medium enterprises, adding that Bank Audi will also increase the lines of communication and credit with the Social Fund for Development and international financial institutions to develop a special programme for SMEs and reach their owners everywhere.