Nasser Social Bank (NSB) specialized in granting soft loans and microfinance – File Photo
LONDON, April 1 (MENA) - Egypt's banks have emerged from a difficult decade with their appetite for expansion undimmed, The Banker monthly magazine reported on Wednesday.
The banking sector in Egypt achieved positive growth with expectations of strong economic progress within the coming years as the banks in Egypt are now focusing on granting loans to small and medium-sized projects.
The banking sector in Egypt is very strong and ready to face any crisis, said Monsef Morsi, head of financial analysis department at CI Capital bank.
He added that the economic reform program launched by the government in 2016 was behind the high growth rates reported in the country over the past few years.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected that the Egyptian economy will grow by 5.9 percent in 2020 to become the biggest growing economy in the Middle East and North Africa.
According to the magazine, total deposits at Egyptian banks hit 4.23 trillion pounds (274 billion dollars) in December 2019 against 3.82 trillion pounds the year before.
Local-currency deposits represent 81.82 percent of total deposits, it added.
Banking loans increased by 13.6 percent during 2018/2019 fiscal year, the magazine said based on data released by the Central Bank of Egypt.
Khaled el Sallawy, executive director of Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, expected that the decrease of interest rate by 450 points in 2019 would contribute to achieving a boom in credit growth in a way that would increase investments.
The magazine expected that banks eager to invade Egyptian market would have to go into acquisition deals after the Central Bank of Egypt announced that it will not issue any licences to any new banks at the current stage.
It referred to underway negotiations Abu Dhabi Bank, the biggest bank in the UAE, is holding with Lebanon's Audi Bank to finalize acquisition deal given tough economic conditions in Lebanon.