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Middle East’s one of the finest! -Mashreq Bank

Mashreq Bank in the United Arab Emirates is one of the oldest private banks. Being so it is still the most innovative, intended towards adding value to its services. The headquarters is based in Dubai and roots go back to 1967 when it first started its operations as the bank of Oman before being renamed as Mashreq Bank in the year 1993. It is one the country’s top financial institutions branched out in various parts of the world. Its offices are in Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. This dynamic bank has sealed its reputation as the bank of first through many years – for example, it was the country’s first bank to install ATMs ( automated Teller machines ) , the first to launch debit and credit cards, first to offer consumer loans and the list goes on. The bank is completely committed to customer driven motivation and today it provides even the Islamic services and products in areas such as retail , asset management , corporate investment and international banking , making the bank an indispensable component of its country’s financial landscape. The bank has received numerous awards by industry’s leaders for its three part strategy of ‘innovation, consistency, and prudence’ helping in evolution of UAE’s financial sector. The era of digitalization more so offers the bank with more opportunities to continue reforming itself.

In an interview , Mr. Ellis Wang , Group head of technology , Transformation and Information of Mashreq Bank gave us some valuable insights regarding the way bank works. The biggest factor which makes the banking business stand out in the market is its customer centric approach. Constant innovation for the benefit its clients in order to provide them with solutions meeting the expectations of day to day requirements. Agility, innovation and data are the three key components which helps the big techs to diversify and succeed and it is same core components of the bank too. Significant insights of their customer behaviors through solid engagement coupling with strong digital capabilities puts the bank in high position to deliver tailor made products for the customers.

Increased internal productivity and faster time to markets. By adopting the DevOps and Infrastructure automation, the product release cycle has reduced from weeks to minutes. Enhanced customer experience by designing services around the cloud-native architecture along with leveraging the cloud ecosystems. The bank saw an increase in the performance of their products.

Increased cost transparency by moving to a service-based model and pay-as-you-go billing has achieved a complete cost transparency on the bank’s infrastructure.

Finally, by relieving the overhead of managing and running data centers, the bank able to dedicate more time and effort towards its products to improve its service to the customers.

As the leading investor in UAE’s banking sector , Mashreq has collaborated with many fintechs across the world to upgrade their banking system again being the first bank of its country to launch KYC ( know your customer ) underpinned by block chain. The bank looks forward to Digitization—digital origination and digital fulfilment to have an optimize productivity.

Even in the pandemic crisis the bank has performed exceptionally well as it made sure that its staff had all the necessary tools to perform efficiently as they worked from home. For example, they mobilized 4,500 VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) desktops for users which was way up from their previous 1,200 desktops, representing a 350-percent increase in less than a month. 97 per cent of the employees had this service provided. Strategic focus on digital banking, the bank could offer its customers a 24 hour safe and secure services at the comfort of their homes. The commitment and innovation in the end is the bank’s success secret.

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Goldman banker hired by the Citi bank

Citigroup has hired Luisa Leyenaar-Huntingford from Goldman Sachs. This new hire is to co-head its global infrastructure franchise. Because, it seeks to win more business from cash-rich investment firms focusing on infrastructure deals. Leyenaar-Huntingford will be based in London. Responsibility will be shared with Todd Guenther in New York.

The pair will work closely with industry teams covering healthcare, industrials, natural resources and clean energy transition (NRCET), technology and communications. Leyenaar-Huntingford helped in the establishment of the Goldman’s infrastructure franchise in her time at the Wall Street bank. They will team up with Citi’s Iberia co-head of banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA) Jorge Ramos will continue to be a senior member of the global infrastructure franchise.

The infrastructure sector is poised for further growth, according to the memo. The memo was released by Citi’s global co-heads of the alternative assets group Anthony Diamandakis and John Eydenberg, and its EMEA head of BCMA Nacho Gutierrez-Orrantia. There was significant private investment demand across the globe to deal with environmental, energy, transportation, waste, communication, digital and other social needs.

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Banks make slow progress on UK gender pay

Major banks in Britain made a slight dent in their gender pay gaps. Several insurers went backwards. Companies in Britain with more than 250 employees have been required to publish the difference between the pay and bonuses of their male and female employees. They got a reprieve due to the pandemic, last year. The financial services sector has shown one of the largest genders pay gaps in Britain. The lack of women in senior jobs is the main reason.

Pay gap data from 21 major financial institutions showed a narrowing in their average mean gender pay gap. This is just 0.4 percentage points. Banks alone had a pay gap which narrowed by one percentage point. Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said that the UK’s financial services industry has often been singled out. It really does have to get its house in order. Goldman Sachs had the widest gender pay gap in the year to April 2020. Goldman posted a gender pay gap of 51.8%. The bank told the staffs that narrowing the gap further was a critical priority. A spokesperson for banking lobby group UK Finance said, that there is clearly more still to be done.

FTSE 100 insurers Prudential, Legal & General and M&G reported a widening in their pay gaps. Prudential’s UK gender pay gap widened to 45.2%. M&G also reported a widening in its pay gap in the most recent year to 30.5%. The M&G spokesperson said that they are determined to narrow their gender pay gap and will do this by achieving better representation of women in all roles at all levels of our organization. Legal & General’s mean gender pay gap widened to 30.8%.

The insurer said that the legal & general is tackling the underlying causes of its pay gap. This is by creating a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive culture through sustained, long-term action. Admiral had a gender pay gap last year of 12.8%. The 21 firms surveyed were Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Standard Chartered, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs International, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, PGMS (a Phoenix unit), abrdn, Schroder Investment Management, St James’s Place, Legal & General, Prudential, Admiral Group, Aviva and M&G.

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BOJ to lower inflation target-Japan’s finance minister

Japan’s outgoing finance minister, Taro Aso, said that he had proposed lowering the central bank’s 2% inflation target. This is when the prices took a hit from plunging oil prices. He was the finance minister for nearly nine years. The slump in oil price was among the main reasons the government could not officially declare an end to deflation. In his final news conference as finance minister, Aso said that he proposed to Governor Kuroda that, with oil prices falling this much, it would be hard to achieve 2% inflation. Hence, the target must be lowered at some point. He stated this by referring to Bank of Japan (BOJ) chief Haruhiko Kuroda.

Aso also said that the governor said he would do his best to achieve the target. This is stated by adding that policymakers must scrutinise at some point, why the BOJ’s inflation target of 2% has not been met. The remarks highlight how the government and lawmakers distanced themselves from the BOJ’s target years ago, despite central bank reassurances that achieving the target was possible by maintaining or increasing stimulus.

Aso was deeply involved in negotiations with the BOJ. After Kuroda took over as governor, he deployed a massive asset-buying program. This is for pulling Japan out of deflation. Aso supported the BOJ’s stimulus efforts. He is a member of the cabinet. And also, had raised many doubts that monetary policy alone can reflate the economy out of the doldrums. New Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is set to form a cabinet.

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