Will give the first franchise to a UAE company by the third quarter of the year, said a top official of the bank.
Talking to this paper, Louis A.Scotto, general manager of the bank's retail banking, said that negotiations are still underway with this company, which he declined to name, but added that it is active in the area of financial services and also has operations outside the UAE in the Gulf region.
He also clarified that for franchising out meBank, Emirates Bank will not need any special permission from the UAE Central Bank because the franchisee would not be exactly doing banking. It will be selling the bank's products like any other products from its counters, he explained
Scotto has earlier said that he wanted to create a McDonald out of meBank, which has the distinction of being one of the superbrand's in the country.
He also disclosed that among the new initiatives that is being planned for meBank is to soon launch meStations, which is a drive through location concept, but these will come with other facilities in the station.
Although he did not elaborate on the meStation delivery channel, Scotto said that meBank will increasingly penetrate the retail banking market focusing on segment oriented products like meNRI.
The next segment product that is due to be launched by the end of next month is aimed at students and meBank will open outlets at a host of locations in colleges in the country.
Among the facilities that the students using this service will get apart from tution loans are ATM and credit cards.
"Of course the credit cards will be collateralised with Fortune Certificates that the students will have to invest in," he added.
The bank is also planning a foray into the ladies' segment soon. But Scotto promised that it would not be similar to some of the products and services available in the market today in the same segment. It will be more customised and will fulfil the various requirements of ladies, he added.
Scotto said that some of the other segments that the bank is looking at are the professions like doctors and lawyers. Besides after the successful launch of meNRI, other countries in the subcontinent are also being considered.
On meNRI, Scotto, who was joined by Atul Jain, the product manager of retail loans of the bank, said that in a very short span of time since the launch of the segment product, it has opened more than 8,000 accounts. And 75 per cent of these accounts were opened on-line with a large number of them having become transactional.
The general manager also added that the relationship with ICICI Bank has been going very well with the Indian bank being technology savvy. He said that very soon through meNRI various ICICI products like home loans, insurance and mutual fund schemes will be introduced as the response to meNRI has surpassed the bank's expectations.
The various retail initiatives of meBank has helped raising the marketshare of the retail banking operations of Emirates Bank International. Scotto said that the number of credit cards from the bank has now crossed the 50,000 mark, while for the year 2002, retail banking profits rose by double digit and was slightly behind the group's corporate banking in terms of growth.
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