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Broadening Product and market portfolio

At SAIB, we strive to make our banking products and services simple and accessible. We listen to our customers and understand their needs and preferences in order to evolve and improve. The main thrust of our product and service development during the year was digitalisation.

During 2018, the Information Technology Group completed infrastructure enhancements to the Bank’s network, storage, servers and core systems to support improved services. The infrastructure for internet and mobile banking has also been upgraded to bring it on par with international standards.

Balancing the needs of different market segments

The definition of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises was amended during 2018, in conformance with a directive from SAMA and now includes customers up to SAR 200 million in annual sales turnover. The categorisation within MSME is as follows:

Segment Annual sales Employees
Micro SAR 0 – SAR 3 million 1-5
Small SAR 3 million – SAR 40 million 6-49
Medium SAR 40 million – SAR 200 million 50-249

The Kalafah programme was launched for Saudi MSMEs by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) and Saudi banks. The objective of the programme was to promote financing for MSMEs in the Kingdom.

The Bank’s Kalafalah programme’s credit processing was restructured in line with recent changes in the programme agreement. Participants in the SME Authority’s Elite programme, which targets fast growing medium enterprises, accounted for 25% of the total participants. The Agricultural Fund financing agreement, which mainly aims to support the MSME segment, was rolled out.

During the year, a total of 82 man-days of training was provided to staff while 16 man-days training was provided to customers.

Adapting to changing customer needs

Automating procedures with a view to maximising customer convenience was the focus of our IT innovations which were carried out during the year. A new teller system was developed which covered the entire business process from teller through the back-office processes. This included automation of exceptions approvals and document archiving. The need for customers to visit branches to issue or replace several types of cards was eliminated by implementation of Phase 1 of the Smart Branch Project. This automated service is now available on a 24X7 basis. Customer information such as ID Numbers and addresses can now be updated online. Customer letters and certificates can also now be issued through internet banking.

Account opening has been automated to enable customers who have availed themselves of the internet banking facility (Flexx Click) to open accounts online. This has been a great convenience, especially to customers from areas where there are no branches. Refinancing of customer loans has also been automated through telesales. These developments have eased the pressure on branches. Another development which has also resulted in a reduction in customer visits, is a new infrastructure hub to integrate with the different government entities which provides for automatic updates of customer information. New services were added for corporate customers to manage their Easypay employees through internet banking.

Transitioning from commoditised to innovative and differentiated products

The SAIB WhatsApp business account was successfully launched making the Bank a pioneer in this area of customer service. Since launching, a total of 16,046 messages have been received from 4,147 unique mobile numbers.

The Twitter Chatbot was also launched to give customers a novel experience. Users are greeted with welcome message in their selected language and automated replies are given for frequently asked questions.

Another digital initiative was to enable shopping card wallet funding with points from the WooW loyalty programme. The Flynas airline miles programme was integrated with redemption using WooW points.

A robotics system has been introduced, which has replaced manual processes and increased speed and efficiency. New system developments facilitated improved functionalities in online payments, mobile payments and e-Wallets. Mada card management has also been automated through Flexx Click to control online purchases. Household card services have been automated through the internet. Enhancements have also been made to Travel card to allow up to 50 currencies and multiple wallets on the card. One innovation we have made on the regulatory front is automating the reporting to SAMA.

By innovation and utilising technology, we have successfully met the challenges of increasing demands. Technology and customer requirements are constantly evolving and the new demands will emerge in the next year and beyond. Yet we face the future with confidence that we can fulfil whatever demands that are placed on us, and continue to delight our customers.


GRI Indicators GRI 103-1, 103-2, 103-3