Riyad Bank aims to retain its lead in transaction banking through looking into the future. Here, Ehab M Al-Bakri Senior Vice President and the bank Transaction Service Department head explains its outlook to Cash & Trade
Q. Could you share with us an overview of Riyad Bank Transaction Services products, services and technology?
At Riyad Bank Transaction Banking Solutions we divide our solutions and services into four major categories to ensure we fulfill the needs of our customers:
Payment and Prepaid Cards: which enables corporate customers to manage all the payables easily thru different channels.
E-Collection: which enables the corporate customers to manage all the receivables from their clients electronically.
Cash Liquidity Management: We provide solutions to support the customer in managing their cash handling and account management by offering them innovative solutions.
E-Channel Solutions: we offer alternative channels that provide solutions to corporate customers, such as Riyad Mobile Business (Riyad Bank is the first and only bank in KSA to provide this service) and Riyad Online Corporate.
Having said that, Riyad Banks is one of the leading banks in Transaction Banking Solutions where we provide all possible solutions, in excess of 25 products and services. So we believe that we are one of the few banks that are considered as a one-stop-shop for Transaction Banking Solutions & Services.
Q. What are the main challenges Riyad Bank faced with when it comes to corporates cash management and trade finance requirements and technology needed?
The accelerating technological evolution we are witnessing in almost all industries has led to a very competitive market for Transaction Banking Solutions, and this puts pressure on us to always be ahead of the market to meet the continuous, ever growing high expectations and demands of corporate customers.
Q. Has bank selection changed from corporates when deciding their cash management and trade bank in recent years and why?
Yes it has changed drastically. In the past corporate customers used to mainly look at two aspects only, i.e., price and offerings, and competition was quite limited, so the corporate customers were always looking for the bank that can offer the solutions that fulfill their needs at a reasonable price. However nowadays, given the high competition among banks for Cash & Trade solutions, corporate customers are looking for a bank to partner with, a bank that can offer them state-of-the-art, innovative and reliable solutions tailor-made for their needs.
Q. What are your views to Fintech companies’ role in the banking space and have you seen any of their activities in KSA?
Our views vary from a company to another, based on the following two factors:
- New innovative solutions: I would say we have a good number of international companies that came up with very innovative solutions to assist the banks in offering a unique service to their customers, but most of these companies lack the local support so their after-sale support is not satisfactory.
- Enhancing current solutions: There are some companies that use their expertise and best practices to enhance the current solutions, and most of these companies have solid local partners, which positively affects their capability to offer good support (in the form of after-sale); however, such companies are only focused on traditional solutions, so innovation would be rather limited in this case.
Q. What are the latest themes and trends with trade finance products and solutions in KSA and areas that Riyad Bank leading with.
The general trends in KSA for Trade Finance nowadays are as follows:
- The Trade Finance business has been very competitive in KSA and every bank is trying to increase their market share
- The use of LC is slowly declining in KSA. It is still a SAR 185Bn market, but every year this figure is getting smaller
- The LG business will remain subdued this year, mainly because of the slowdown in the contracting business
- The requirements of trade financing (both under LC or outside LC) are growing in KSA due to the situation of liquidity in the market
- Sophisticated customers in KSA are looking at alternative trade payment structures, which will give them cost benefits and better access to liquidity
- Non-oil exports are among the key focus areas this year
Riyad Bank is a key player in online trade solution. This year, we will be focusing on promoting our LC solutions to existing customers in a move to defend/grow our market share.
Guided by the market needs and the demand from sophisticated customers, several banks in KSA will be introducing new trade products/solutions. Hopefully, the ongoing trade finance projects will help us move ahead in this direction.
SVP, Transaction Banking Services Head
Mr. Al-Bakri is managing the Transaction Banking Services at Riyad Bank. He joined Riyad Bank in 2015 carrying up with him more than 14 years of experience in the Banking Industry working in different banks; Ehab succeeded in supporting the banks he worked with to be one of the top service & solution provider for Cash Management and Trade Finance business. Mr. Al-Bakri holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering and Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from Florida Institute of Technology.