Regional: Best Transaction Bank 2021
One of the banks that had a good Covid-19 crisis is UAE-based Mashreq Bank.
No one would say the pandemic was a good thing, least of all Mashreq chief executive Ahmed Abdelaal and his team. But if ever there were a tech-savvy institution ready for a once-in-a-generation pandemic that forces clients, old and new, to bank from home, it’s ever-evolving Mashreq Bank.
A paradox, perhaps, as the 54-year-old bank is one of the oldest in the land. But in 2020, as disruption became unavoidable, Mashreq lived up to the claims that its heritage is intimately linked with the creation of a modern, outward-facing UAE.
It did not have to sprint to raise its digital game, as so many of its peers did.
Mashreq holds many firsts in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. It was first to launch world-class ATM services, credit cards, corporate cash and cheque deposit machines; telebanking capabilities; student-centric transaction centres; chat-box customer interface systems; fully-automated bank branches; green energy mobile ATM offerings; Alipay in the UAE; and mobile-banking units for international investment.
But chatting with Mashreq management can be disorienting in another way: is it based in Silicon Valley or Dubai?
Case in point: hiring Ellis Wang in March 2020 as its chief head of technology, transformation and information, the idea being that since 1967, Mashreq has perfected banking.