By Promising Entrepreneurs Business Accounts That Can Be Opened In 48 Hours, Emirates Development Bank's New App Aims To Redefine Business Banking In The UAE
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Emirates Development Bank (EDB) has launched its new EDB Business Banking app, with an aim to redefine the banking experience for entrepreneurs, startups, and SMEs across the UAE.
Powered by YAP, a UAE-based fintech company, the EDB Business Banking app was unveiled on Monday, September 20, 2021, at a ceremony at the Dubai Future Foundation, in the presence of H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, EDB CEO Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, and other dignitaries.
H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Emirates Development Bank CEO Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi
In an interview with Entrepreneur Middle East, Al Naqbi discussed how the app is set to be a gamechanger for the UAE’s banking domain, with EDB promising businesses who use it to create accounts that they will see them activated in a maximum of 48 hours, provided all of the valid documentation has been delivered within the required timeframe.
“What’s fantastic about the app is that anyone in the country basically can use it to set up a business bank account, granted, of course, that they have right documentation in the sense of like their Emirates ID, their trade license, and some other basic information, and they can get an international bank account number (IBAN) within minutes,” Al Naqbi says. “And once they have this IBAN, we've actually revised the entire know-your-customer (KYC) process to make it as simple and straightforward as possible- there's literally one KYC form.”
Once the KYC form is filled and submitted, Al Naqbi says that someone from the EDB team will then almost immediately contact the customer to schedule an appointment for them to visit the latter at a location of their choosing. At this meeting, the EDB representative would verify documents as needed and collect the requisite forms, and should everything be in order, customers are assured of their accounts being activated and ready in a span of 48 hours or less.
“The second you download the app, you should have everything already ready and in place, and within 48 hours, you will have an active account,” Al Naqbi says. “Now, compare that to the horror stories that I've heard, where people take months [to launch an account], and they also have to go through all kinds of hurdles and hoops, where they have speak to this person, and then speak to that person. Anybody that's listening to me right now, who's in the startup world, will understand exactly what I'm saying. Forget that; we want you to come to EDB.”
Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, CEO, Emirates Development Bank.
According to Al Naqbi, who was appointed as the CEO of EDB just about four months ago, the EDB Business Banking app came into being after conversations with a variety of stakeholders from across the UAE business domain, just as he started his tenure at the bank.
“One key element that kept coming up over and over again was the fact that entrepreneurs face a lot of difficulty when opening up a bank account,” he remembers. “So, I knew, within a month of joining, that this was something that we could solve, and that it would have a real impact on entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups in the UAE.”
The effects of these discussions that Al Naqbi and his team at EDB had with members of the public and private sectors of the UAE’s business landscape can be seen in the characteristics that the EDB Business Banking app professes today solely for the benefit of entrepreneurs.
“We have no charges; it’s completely free to use this application,” Al Naqbi points out. “There are no monthly fees. There are no maintenance fees. There is no minimum account balance requirement… You can have zero balance. It’s your money- we’re not here to make a profit off of you. We're here to try to support and enable you.”
Al Naqbi reveals that plans are already in place to build on the offerings that will be available on the app, which include features that allow for payrolls, remittances, and other such services, although they may have costs associated with them. “What we promise as EDB is that we will partner with the best people on those value-added services,” Al Naqbi declares. “And we will make sure that whatever cost is on there is as fair as possible.”
As a bank whose mandate is to develop the UAE’s economy, Al Naqbi points out that as a non-commercial entity, EDB is uniquely positioned to bring out solutions like the EDB Business Banking app, which is solely targeted at furthering business within the UAE.
“We are not looking to compete with commercial banks,” Al Naqbi explains. “They are doing what they are doing, and more power to them- they're doing the best they can on behalf of their shareholders. For us, it's about addressing that gap that we completely understand cannot necessarily be addressed on the commercial side of things, but at the same time, is a critical need for the growth and development of the country.”
When asked how he'd go about pitching the app to be used by entrepreneurs in the UAE, many of whom have had difficulties dealing with banks in the past, Al Naqbi urged them to look at this new digital initiative with an open mind. "The only thing that I can say is that the proof is going to be in the pudding," he says. "When you actually use this application, you will see. If you have access to your funds in your accounts, and you're able to use it to your needs, and you're not seeing anybody trying to charge you or price gauge you, and that there's nothing for you there to feel like you're being taken advantage of, then all of this should be a new experience for you. But again, you have to try it, and I hope that you do, as an entrepreneur."
The EDB Business Banking app can be downloaded by clicking here.