2020 Winner: Emirates NBD Advances in retail and internet banking win trophies – Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards
Emirates NBD


The advances that Emirates NBD have made in its UAE Retail Bank unit and Internet Banking provision have won the bank trophies in both categories at the RBI: Asia Trailblazer Awards 2020.

The Best Retail Bank: UAE victory was achieved thanks in part to its profitability, as evidenced by its 2019 figures showing revenue growth of 9% and profits up 5% year-on-year (YOY), in a slowing market, while maintaining a best-in-class Direct Cost to Income ratio of 29%.

Its been achieved by investing in fintech digital leadership tools, many of which are mentioned in the accompanying ‘Lifetime Achievement’ write-up recognising the unit’s head, Suvo Sarkar (see facing page). 68% of retail bank customers are now digitally active on a monthly basis and a mobile first development strategy has ensured 93% of transactions are now on digital channels.

The retail bank’s Emaar and Emirates Airlines co-branded credit cards are mentioned in the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ write-up, delivering strong acquisition growth of 22% YOY and efficiencies, as are its Branch of the Future, AI bot, paperless application procedures and so on. The Liv. digital and mobile-only bank brought new millennial customers to the bank (90% of joiners) and is still growing 5% a month since its launch in 2017. Not mentioned in Sarkar’s Lifetime write-up was its E.20 digital-only business bank for freelancers, gig economy workers, start-ups, sole proprietors and micro-business people. It builds on the success of Liv. and similarly is designed to attract newcomers, with strong growth potential to the retail bank.

The Excellence in Internet Banking victory was achieved by ENBD because of the way it has transformed its traditional online internet banking portal into an electronic e-commerce and diverse banking platform with enhanced responsiveness, touchscreen compatibility and a single sign-on capability that delivers frictionless banking. A vastly improved user experience (UX) and interface (UI) contribute. This is no mere online statement, transaction engine or advert opportunity anymore. Self-serve, UX and data-rich growth and service opportunities have all been maximised.

Every financial and information demand can now be easily fulfilled thanks to:

  • Personal Finance Management (PFM) tools, with Smart Insights: The redesigned dashboard gives customers a better focus on spending, saving and investing via real-time, data-driven smart insights. A money bar shows how much money can be used, while still meeting scheduled transfer and payment commitments in a budget period.
  • Personalisation: means services can be activated or deactivated according to user preferences. Pictures, nicknames, social media accounts and so on can also be linked.
  • Saving goals: Users can create and personalise savings goals and track their progress.
  • Online advice: A communication hub gives users access to a Private Wall where they can start a live chat, get in touch with their relationship manager, schedule an appointment or be notified about any changes.
  • FaceBanking: This new comms channel brings the branch to customers by enabling enquiries and end-to-end product applications via an interactive video call with an advisor.
  • Digital store: This is a one-stop-shop for all banking needs. Customers can explore offers that are specially curated for them and can browse, compare and apply for banking products with different scenarios, as they would when shopping online.
  • Application tracking: means requests for new products can be tracked omnichannel. For example, a customer could start applying for a loan in a branch, and upload the required documents later from the comfort of home via online banking.
  • Beneficiary book: Expat clients mean different accounts with different banks, so allowing customers to create a ‘book’ to add and prioritise multiple transfer beneficiaries under a single group, and put faces to names by uploading profile photos, makes the experience much better. Similarly, customers are able to create multiple payment beneficiaries for each billing organization. It’s easy to repeat a historical transaction, or initiate a new one using the UX enhanced navigation menus.

Project management
The new internet bank design was finalised after multiple research steps, peer reviews, focus groups and so on. The project team followed an agile and waterfall methodology, which enabled any hurdles to be overcome quickly.

The team of 50+ project members co-located with the Business unit, overlooking the User Acceptance testing people, to ensure speed but also accuracy with appropriate review, suggestion and sign-off steps. Testing was divided into five elements:

  • Unit testing,
  • System integration testing,
  • User acceptance testing,
  • Performance testing
  • & Regression testing.

Features like FaceBanking or the Digital store are firsts for the region, say ENBD, and point the way to a more digital, integrated future.


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!