The last few years has seen tremendous improvement in Jordan’s financial inclusion rate. In 2014, barely a quarter of adults held a bank account. Numbers from 2017 show that’s jumped to 42 percent. But there’s still huge potential for banking growth. His excellency Mr Musa Shihadeh is CEO of Jordan Islamic Bank, for which improving financial inclusion is a key goal. He discusses how the bank is working with women to improve their banking rate, and ensuring the bank has an accessible network in more rural areas.

World Finance: The last few years has seen tremendous improvement in Jordan’s financial inclusion rate. In 2014, barely a quarter of adults held a bank account. Numbers from 2017 show that’s jumped to 42 percent. But there’s still huge potential for banking growth. His excellency Mr Musa Shihadeh is CEO of Jordan Islamic Bank, for which improving financial inclusion is a key goal.

Tell me about the work Jordan Islamic Bank is doing to help improve financial inclusion.

HE Mr Musa Shihadeh: We concentrate on retail banking; and we have almost 177,000 customers dealing with us – and 90 percent of those customers hold less than JOD 100,000.

We concentrate on quality of services, and we try to make awareness of our services by holding seminars and workshops for those people who are expected to deal with our bank, as well as those who are dealing without having our best services.

By these services, and facilitating these services, we help to pass our services to the community and to those people.

World Finance: Expanding your branch and ATM network is also key to this?

HE Mr Musa Shihadeh: We try to have our ATMs and branches as well in different areas, in rural areas, in towns; in order to give services to those people who are away from our main branches and main services. And this enhanced the business, and let them have their services without any cost to come to the branches and do their business.

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World Finance: Environmental sustainability is another important facet of your mission; how are those projects going?

HE Mr Musa Shihadeh: Jordan is a sunny country; we have 300 days in the year with sun. So we started having plants to get renewable energy from the sun. Now we have an integrated station that covers one third of our bank’s energy. And as well we started helping people have their electricity through the sun – it is a low cost financing, and that helps a lot for our people and population.

In addition to that, we try always to finance hybrid cars and electric companies, in order to save energy for the country.

World Finance: And finally, what are your ambitions for 2019 and the years to come?

HE MR Musa Shihadeh: We plan to have our share in the banking sector in the country. So we try to give our faster services, with the highest technology. We always develop the needs for our customers and services in order to keep our bank ahead in the banking sector in the country.

World Finance: Musa Shihadeh, thank you very much.

Courtesy: World Finance