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Q&A with Amit Malhotra, General Manager at the CBD

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Amit Malhotra, General Manager of the Personal Banking Group at the Commercial Bank of Dubai

What’s the transformation vision of CBD and how do you engage CBD employees and stakeholders throughout the transformation journey?

CBD has embarked on a relentless digital transformation journey to simplify products and processes in order to create better digital customer experiences and ensure customer satisfaction using state-of-the-art technology and innovation. We see banks going beyond offering financial products and services and becoming ‘trusted advisors’ that listen to the customers’ financial requirements and provide insights to meet their needs with the right product at the right time. Data is a key factor in achieving this, as banks will have to collect data on customers and analyze their behavior, using customer analytics solutions to develop personalized and suitable offerings to meet their needs.

Digital transformation is a collaborative process that requires the participation and engagement of everyone in the bank, starting from the CEO down to the business unit managers, product managers, technology enablers and frontline staff. It’s important to ensure involvement of all key stakeholders to ensure getting feedback and perspective from everyone involved in order to help design a complete and comprehensive solution.

In addition, the Bank has channeled the digital transformation drive through the establishment of a dedicated unit for Change Management called “Enterprise Change Management Office (ECMO)”; an office that has been tasked with the responsibility of driving the bank’s Innovation and Digital agenda. The ECMO spearheads all the key digital transformation initiatives for the Bank and has been instrumental in providing a holistic pan-bank approach ensuring the involvement and integration of all stakeholders across Business units, Information Technology, operations, risk, Compliance and Customer Service Units leading to the successful implementation of several projects.

Further, over the past few years, CBD has introduced its very own “CBD Employee Innovation Challenge” which aims to involve the entire organization in generating innovative ideas and inputs that would impact customers and employees. We realize that our own employees are best equipped to identify key issues and areas of improvement that CBD needs to address, and that is why we provided them with this opportunity, to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to help alleviate existing pain points as well as explore new opportunities which may not have been addressed before. The testament to the success of this initiative has been the large number of suggestions from the employee innovation challenge that have been implemented or are under finalization such as CBD One, Digi Accounts, Robo-advisory, Youth accounts and more. These products have also helped the bank in its acquisition drive by getting a large number of new bank customers. With CBD One credit cards, the bank has also successfully been able to target and attract a new customer segment - millennial customers, while the CBD Digi account resonated very well with the low income, unbanked audience due to its low entry barriers, since it needs no salary requirement, and no minimum balance to be maintained.

How the “Innovation Processes” are fostering CBD transformation?

Digital transformation is a strategic priority for CBD as part of its vision to be ‘default digital’. It’s also in line with the government’s vision for the UAE to be a smart country. Innovation is a major component in CBD’s customer-centric strategy and a key driver for digitizing the bank’s processes.

In today’s digital era, customer experiences are benchmarked to those provided by large technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Banks must strive to offer a similar experience, and therefore the only relevant measurement of the digitization’s success is the improvement of customer experience.

CBD was among the pioneers in the region to drive digital transformation. In 2017, CBD launched “CBD Now” which was the first digital-only bank. This was the beginning of the execution of our digital transformation strategy with the purpose of making digital technology the main driver of business development and innovation.

The successful transformation at CBD has been the result of visionary leadership and the adoption of key strategic pillars:

• The customer at the heart of the strategy: The cornerstone of any organization is its customers and at CBD, we put the Customer First, by meeting their requirements, before anything and ahead of everything else. We strive to build healthy and long-term relationships with our clients by identifying their needs while providing them with the best possible service experience.

• Shared vision of "the digital bank of now": In order to achieve the desired objectives together, CBD is multiplying its efforts to unite all teams around a common goal. Digital transformation is seen as a collective commitment whose results will benefit everyone.

• Agility and experimentation: In order to make the digital transition a success, Dr. Bernd favors an agile and collaborative approach that embeds the different functions in the design of new solutions. For a better quality, experimentation is put forward in order to perfect the products and then offer them to customers in a relevant way.

• Partnership with Fintechs: In order to accelerate the innovation process, CBD quickly realized the benefits of partnering with fintechs instead of competing with them. Fintechs offer agility and a nimbler approach while banks provide the scale and customer base, making it a win-win solution for the customer.

The Digital drive has led to the launching of several award-winning products and services, such as CBD ONE card, which won the “Most Innovative Card of the Year” Award from Seamless Middle East Awards for two consecutive years. The CBD One Card is a product that was conceptualized and designed internally through the Staff Innovation Challenge then implemented and launched in record time. It is a truly innovative card that customers can apply for instantly and conveniently through the CBD Mobile App, without needing to fill out any paperwork or visiting a branch. It is built on the premise of super-flexibility and customization, offering customers the ability to choose the card design, the monthly benefits and rewards, with the ability to pause or switch between plans at anytime, based on their preferences.

What are the highlights of the customer experience related to "CBD Digi Account”?

The CBD Digi Account is an award-winning product that enables new-to-bank customers to open a CBD account instantly, using just their Emirates ID in less than 2 minutes, which is considered one of the fastest account opening processes in the industry. The account can be opened through the CBD Mobile App, at the customer’s convenience, at any time and from anywhere, without having to visit a branch, simply by using a smart phone and an Emirates ID.

Positioned as “the UAE’s Most Rewarding Digital Account”, the CBD Digi account offers customers a host of free banking services, including free remittances with best-in-market exchange rates, free ATM withdrawals across the CBD ATM network and a free checkbook, as well as the possibility to open up to 11 multi-currency accounts, including a gold account. What’s more, customers do not need to maintain any minimum balance or transfer their salaries to open the account.

The CBD Digi account also offers CBD Reward Points for transactions along with monthly and quarterly sweepstakes with prizes ranging from the latest Huawei Fold phone to other smart phones and accessories. The CBD Digi Smiles account also offers great rewards through Smiles Points for banking transactions along with monthly and quarterly sweepstakes to win up to one million Smiles points every quarter.

Since the launch of the “Digi Accounts” offering, CBD has witnessed a fourfold increase of new to bank customers sourcing, 92% of which came through digital channels. Remittance volumes have doubled and monthly spends across debit and credit cards have increased by a factor of one and a half (1,5). Overall CPA was reduced by 50% and the digital adoption rate reached 81%.

The CBD Digi account and Credit cards also offer an attractive and rewarding referral program (Member get Member) for customers to refer friends and family and get exciting rewards. Customers can get rewarded up to AED 10,000/- every month through this referral program.

In addition, the Digi on-boarding experience has also been extended to Credit Cards and Loans, with customers able to instantly get a credit card using the CBD mobile app, and also instantly get Personal Loans directly credited to the customers’ account. All customers need is a Mobile phone and their Emirates ID to get these loans instantly and digitally.

The digitization journey applies beyond the on-boarding journey to the entire customer lifecycle with the bank. With new enhanced features and functionality, the CBD Mobile app virtually offers the entire bank and its services to customers on their palm, without having to leave the comfort of their home or office.

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