Emirates NBD


The donation of student laptops during the Covid-19 lockdowns to enable home schooling and provision of food, sanitation packs and accommodation for key workers during the outbreak were noteworthy elements in EmiratesNBD’s entry that won the Best Retail Bank in UAE category at the virtual Retail Banker International (RBI): Asia Trailblazer Awards 2021. But the introduction of more digital services, tools, capacity and data were crucial in its award, and helped them to further wins in the Best Credit Scoring Innovation and Best Application of Data Analytics categories.

EmiratesNBD also did good corporate responsibility work advocating for people with disabilities and introduced a multi-faceted financial literacy program over the last year. Its ironically titled ‘How to Grow Rich During a Pandemic‘ public service video was also disseminated with the Dubai government and police in the U.A.E. It exhorted people to safeguard their personal information. More than two million views were recorded on social media channels alone.

National Covid-19 movement restrictions imposed during 2020 led to the closing of certain ENBD branches, so the bank ramped up its digital provision, ensuring:

  1. Complete digital access to loans, cards and wealth applications.
  2. Email based sign-up procedures for ENBD's online platforms for Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) customers.
  • Increased online transfer limits.
  1. Introduction of ‘Smart Pass’: this new soft token based authentication service increased security and convenience.
  2. Videocall communication between customers and their relationship managers and investment advisors.

In regard to product innovations the bank launched a revamp of its account opening journey for those using tablets and the enablement of straight-through processing (STP) push notifications for card balance conversions, in addition to a strengthened digital identity verification feature on its mobile account opening service. Other new tools included:

  • Visa Flexi Card: A card management portal giving exclusive benefits and customers the ability to customize them.
  • AutoSwap car loan buyout service: This allowed liabilities to be released quickly and for those who needed wheels a Shop.Click.Drive online vehicle finance tool was also available.

EmiratesNBD used ‘big data’ analytical tools to also implement a data management platform that can access third-party audience pools, thereby improving engagement, relevancy and cutting the cost of personalizing at scale. ENBD utilized meta-research, including sentiment analysis, in collaboration with leading social media platforms to build targeted segmented marketing and drive traffic and sign-ups to its digital offerings.

A customer experience (CX) framework that focuses on good design, social listening and co-creating with customers via a ‘Better Together’ community program incubated a move away from a product-centric organization towards a customer-centric one. A CX framework mapping exercise prioritizes integration and ensures seamless ease-of-use considerations are always paramount.

The Liv. digital bank for millennials, and E.20. digital business bank for start-up proprietors and freelance / gig economy workers, are further examples of how good CX and digital services are key to the future of the bank. Liv. grew 20% year-on-year (YoY) and enhanced its product suite with a new digital credit card, online personal loan application and various accident & health insurance options. A pilot launch was also undertaken in Saudi Arabia in February 2020 to assess its international prospects. Liv playing cards were deployed as a gamification technique to get smartphone users to further engage with the brand.

The increased digital focus by customers and staff helped to push digital sales up. For instance, a 45% share for digital on-boardings was registered in 2020. Digital adoption grew, with 77% of individual customers digitally active on a monthly basis (mobile/online) - of which 93% are active on mobile. This is in sync with ENBD’s mobile-first strategy. In regard to transactions, 96% are now done on digital-only channels, with mobile transactions rising fast.

Data Analytics
The Best Application of Data Analytics win for ENBD was primarily given for its work on its Multiplier Effect (ME) end-to-end framework for customer personalization. It recommends a next best action strategy for existing customers using deep data analytics capabilities, allied to the model. The CX-focused concept seeks to predict customers needs, while maximizing bank revenue, by focusing on:

  • Propsenity (of customers to buy / react).
  • Profitability (what are the risk / reward factors in clients, campaigns, etc).
  • Personalization (what interests & activates customers).

By answering the question of who to target, what to sell, and how to communicate via what channel, conversion and profitability rates can be increased, win-back campaigns supercharged, and so on.

CX is helped by only offering relevant marketing, sometimes on a proactive basis if a mortgage need seems imminent, and by reducing mis-selling or poor customer service.

The first implementations of the Multiplier Effect framework yielded promising results with 15% incremental revenue opportunity gains identified. Some examples include:

  1. Card customers: are now pitched the best product based on the ME by both call center staff and digital campaigns. This has driven conversions up by almost 10%. Irrelevant communications, which adversely impact CX, have been cut by 30%.
  2. Debit Card Retention: campaigns based on the ME have generated 33% incremental spend hikes.
  3. FX Propensity Activation Model: This was particularly useful during Covid-19 in identifying customers that might want foreign exchange help.
  4. Credit Card Spends Activation models: captured 70% activations from just a 30% eligible targeted base.
  5. Liabilities Balance Build Model: captured 70% of the customers increasing their balances during Covid-19 lockdowns, in the top 20% of the population.

Credit Scoring  
The Best Credit Scoring Innovation win for ENBD at the RBI Asia Trailblazer Awards 2021 was given for its work on developing new scorecards to quantify the status of customers at the time of acquisition, specifically anti-money laundering (AML) risk. This is a vital issue because of the strengthened regulatory environment in UAE, which has seen 11 banks fined, and the cost of manual procedures and later interventions. The adverse adverse CX from false positives was also a driver forcing the bank to act.

The scorecard innovation it came up with assigns a rating to a customer based on information captured in the application form and other documents collected at the time of on-boarding. It reflects the AML compliance risk associated with the customer. 150 attributes are used to create composite features which are powerful predictors of customer behavior. For instance, initial deposit data is combined with industry risk information to compare the deposit amount of a particular customer with their peers in the same industry. If the deposit is not in-line with peers, the customers were ‘penalized’ when assigning the score. A combination of raw and composite attributes are used to operate the multi-variate scoring framework and give an initial categorization into three risk groups:

  • high,
  • medium,
  • & low risk (all are based on pre-decided score cutoffs in the model).

Separate application scorecards have been developed for ENBD Retail entities and individuals and ENBD Wholesale banking.

Periodic risk assessments of portfolios are necessary to ensure AML compliance and good practice, so existing customers are also subject to a scorecard. This behaviour scorecard specifically looks at:

  • The compliance risk of existing customers: can be better gauged by assessing their behavior/relationship with the bank after on-boarding. Attributes that are examined include:
  • Amount of cash deposits,
  • Annual turnover,
  • Amount/frequency of transactions in high risk countries,
  • Unsatisfactorily closed alerts from other transaction monitoring systems, etc. All of these are added to the model for existing customers, allied to composite and static attributes, which the bank also identifed as risk factors.

In excess of 500 raw attributes and ratios covering all aspects of a customer's relationship with the bank have been added to the modelling base. Logistic regression is used to formulate a final modeling equation, which assigns a behavior score for every customer, based upon final model attributes. Such a score uses a variety of demographic and behavioral factors to accurately determine a customer's AML compliance risk.

The new procedure and data-centric AML scorecards for on-boarding and continuing assessments have also contributed in other ways, improving the overall risk view at the bank and the threat of reputational damage. Less AML costs, as manual requirements are reduced, and enhanced CX and customer data are additional benefits.

  • EmiratesNBD were also HC: Highly Commended at the Retail Banker International (RBI): Asia Trailblazer Awards 2021 in the following categories: Best Credit Card Initiative; Best CSR Initiative; Best Digital Banking Initiative; Excellence in Service Innovation; and Best ATM & Self-Service Innovation.


The Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards is an annual platform that celebrates the best in class retail banking institutions and individuals for their innovative service offering and commitment to customer excellence.

If you would like to share your incredible consumer finance journey, then register for the 13th Annual Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards 2022 and submit your entry!