Better banking standards needed, say 62% of Saudis

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Riyadh / Emirates Business

As high as 38 percent of KSA respondents would recommend their bank as a first choice to friends or colleagues according to the first ever NPS Survey conducted in the Kingdom by , KSA’s #1 financial comparison website.
Respondents were asked to evaluate various aspects of the overall banking experience. The parameters covered customer service, product offerings and financial education, among others.
The results of the survey have been used to conceptualize the inaugural Souqalmal Bank Satisfaction Index. The ripple effect of the findings will be discussed in greater detail at a high-profile FINTECH event to be held in collaboration with Google in Dubai on February 25. Senior representatives from several top tier KSA-based banks will participate in these discussions. will also be factoring in data from the NPS Survey to award the Most Recommended Bank in KSA and UAE at the event. The nominees from KSA are National Commercial Bank, the Saudi British Bankand Alinma Bank.
Commenting on the trends the Founder and CEO of Souqalmal, Ms Ambareen Musa observed that the numbers seen in KSA are highly positive and indicative of a tangible paradigm shift towards transparency both from the banking sector and the government which has been well-received by consumers.
“The time is right now to capitalize on this upward swing by educating and advising customers more to deliver improved service and in turn drive growth,” said Musa.
Going deeper into the findings the numbers indicate that 22 percent of respondents in KSA are still less than satisfied with their bank’s existing product offering.
“With only 12 banks and around 400 banking products, the offering in the Kingdom is constantly evolving and the opportunities are truly endless,” Musa elaborated. The call seems to be for a greater focus by banks on sophisticated customer segmentation, smarter product-bundling, along with cross-selling and up-selling based on comprehensive customer insights.
Women in Saudi Arabia provide a huge opportunity for banks, according to Musa. They are now being more integrated into the workforce and this creates a need for banks to better target and serve them. Some financial institutions have been quick to take steps to benefit from this situation by providing ladies-only bank products. Musa stresses that this focused trend needs to continue.
According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the number of bank branches in KSA as ofDecember 2015 was 1989, an increase from the 2014 figure of 1912. The trend is positive but 17 percent of survey respondents would still like to see a wider branch network, and a significant number of them also want better ATM coverage in KSA.
“With a young, vibrant population, it is only natural that in the Kingdom customer expectations are outpacing the induction of improvements and innovations from technology. Banks in KSA, therefore, need to realize that their success will not just be driven by adding more bells and whistles, but by balancing functionality with ease of use and then clearly communicating features and benefits to customers,” Musa added.
“This is where we come in! As an online channel we are a great conduit for consumers to communicate with their bank. As such we will endeavor to stay the key resource for financial information, helping providers meet the specific needs of customers in the Kingdom. Bearing these findings in mind we have conceptualized our FINTECH event to be a great platform for discussion and debate on the needs of the hour including refining digital strategy in 2016 to increase customer penetration and engagement,” she concluded.
The Souqalmal FINTECH event in collaboration with Google is scheduled to take place on February 25, 2016 in Dubai.

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