IBY celebrates a successful product [Archives:2004/781/Business & Economy]

October 14 2004

By Peter Willems
Yemen Times Staff

Last Monday, International Bank of Yemen (IBY) held a ceremony at Taj Sheba Hotel in Sana'a to celebrate a recently launched and successful product, the point-of-sale service.
Representatives from dozens of companies using the new service gathered for the celebration, which included discussions between the bank's managers and its clients regarding the new product that came on to the market last June.
Customers are now able to make purchases using cards at different locations instead of carrying cash. The businesses that have signed up for the new service include supermarkets, airlines, pharmacies, stationary stores, restaurants and retail stores, such as clothing, perfume and jewelry outlets.
Up to now, over 150 businesses are using IBY's point-of-sale service. Most of the outlets are based in Sana'a, but starting last week, the bank expanded the service into Aden and Hodeidah. Next month, point-of-sale will be operating in Taiz and Mukalla. Ahmed Al-Absi, General Manager at International Bank of Yemen, believes that the new service will reach around 1,000 businesses by the end of this year.
The convenience of carrying a card instead of cash has encouraged a large number of customers to acquire the point-of-sale card at IBY. Between 30 and 50 customers apply and receive a card daily.
IBY will soon take advantage of its business in credit cards. The bank is now a Representative of American Express and is a Principal Member of Visa and MasterCard. In the next few weeks, a customer will be able to use a Visa or MasterCard, which is issued from anywhere in the world, at any point-of-sale location.
“Customers will be able to benefit a great deal with the variety of cards that can be used at points-of-sale,” said Osama Al-Abdalli, Point-of-Sale Coordinator at IBY. “Not only will the local customers benefit, but foreign customers living in Yemen, coming as tourists or coming for business, will be able to take full advantage of the service by using any Visa or MasterCard.”
A number of businessmen that attended the ceremony last Monday said that the companies involved in using point-of-sale are profiting from the service.
“Using the point-of-sale has increased my business,” said Haitham Dubae, owner of House of Perfume. “Since June, our sales have increased by 30% as more customers are coming with a point-of-sale card. Everyday there is an increase, so I expect growth to continue.”
IBY also has plans to expand on its branches. At present, the bank has five outlets in four cities, but by the end of the year, it will have opened four new outlets covering three more cities.
“We are planning to reach out to all customers across the country,” said Nada Al-Hutam, Manager of Delivery Channels at IBY. “And our customers, especially corporate clients that work all over the country, need to be reached to serve them.”
To adapt to the needs of its customers, IBY recently changed its opening hours at its branches. The bank used to be open from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm but is now open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
“Our customers can now do their banking business at night while working in the morning,” said Abdulla Al-Arasi, IBY's Marketing Supervisor. “These are flexible hours to fit the needs of our customers' schedules.”
Over the last two years, IBY has been focusing on a rapid expansion on retail banking. As a result of offering more products and services to customers, the bank expects its fee-based income to take up 30% of its total income this year compared to 15% last year. It predicts gross profits to jump from $900 million in 2003 to around $1.8 billion in 2004.
And with its aggressive strategies of expansion and growth, IBY believes that it will continue to climb up the ranking of the banks operating in Yemen in size based on assets and deposits. In 2002, IBY was ranked eighth out of 17 banks based on deposits, reached sixth last year and has a chance to climb to number three by the end of this year.
“Our aim is to become the number one bank in size next year,” said Al-Absi. “This is mostly because of our expansion in retail and corporate banking.”