ADCB’s Consumer Banking franchise delivered a strong performance in 2021, with an acceleration in digital transformation driving growth in the customer base, operational efficiency and increased customer engagement through digital channels.
During the year, our customer base in both the mass market and affluent segments expanded significantly, while total consumer banking assets increased marginally to stand at AED 110 billion at the end of 2021, and loans stood at AED 100 billion.
Total Consumer Banking Assets (AED)
Growth in customer numbers reflects our progress in digital transformation. More than 165,000 new customers were onboarded through our award-winning ‘Hayyak’ app in 2021. ‘Hayyak’ enables customers to open an account in just eight minutes, providing immediate access to products and services and producing significant efficiencies for the Bank.
The overall cost of onboarding new customers through the app is approximately 60% lower than through physical channels.
The app was awarded ‘Best Customer Onboarding Initiative in the Middle East’ at the 2021 Asian Banker Middle East and Africa Regional Awards.
Our strong franchise also contributed to sustained success in attracting retail current and savings account (CASA) deposits, which have supported the Bank’s achievements in optimising the cost of funds. Retail CASA deposits accounted for 89% of total retail customer deposits as at the end of December 2021, increasing from 82% a year earlier.
The Consumer Banking Group experienced growth across many of its major businesses—including mortgage and auto loans, cards, and merchant services—as consumer sentiment improved steadily, supported by the UAE’s effective response to the global pandemic.
With the residential real estate market showing robust fundamentals due to supportive government policies and a broad economic recovery, ADCB has pursued organic and inorganic growth in the home finance business.
In the first half of 2021, the Bank acquired the mortgage portfolio of Abu Dhabi Finance and implemented a seamless transition for customers to the ADCB platform. The acquired assets were conventional and comprised approximately 76% residential mortgages and 24% commercial mortgages, which resulted in an increase of AED 1.077 billion in the mortgage loan book. Just under half of the portfolio was collateralised by real estate in Abu Dhabi, with the remainder distributed across Dubai and other UAE emirates.
Mortgage portfolio acquired from Abu Dhabi Finance (AED)
Debit and credit card spending in 2021 exceeded 1 bn (USD)
The ADCB Dream Home Platform, launched in November 2020 as the first digital home-buying service in the UAE, gained strong momentum during the year. This partnership with Bayut, the region’s leading property sales portal, is a prime example of the type of partnerships and ecosystems that ADCB is building to drive business growth through market-leading digital platforms. Prospective buyers benefit from access to ADCB’s instant mortgage pre-approvals and other user-friendly tools that provide a direct and seamless home-buying experience. The platform won the ‘Best API Initiative’ and ‘Best Frictionless Credit Evaluation’ award at The Digital Banker—Middle East and Africa Retail Banking Innovation Awards.
Our cards business continued to gather momentum, with the debit and credit card portfolio cumulatively exceeding the milestone of USD 1 billion in cardholder spending during 2021, joining a select group of banks worldwide to achieve this scale.
The Bank’s card portfolio has significantly outperformed market growth over the last three years, achieving a 14% increase in customer spending versus 9% for the overall market.1 In 2021, ADCB achieved a 40% year-on-year increase in new cards issued. In tandem, transaction volumes across our digital wallet, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay, more than doubled to over 27 million transactions.
The Bank significantly enhanced its long-standing TouchPoints customer loyalty programme by expanding partnerships to provide more choices for redemption. For example, we converted TouchPoints to act as a medium of exchange on Zomato, which made over half a million deliveries in 2021 to customers paying with their ADCB reward points. More than one billion points were redeemed each quarter on the food delivery platform. The Bank is expanding this partnership model to other digital platforms. In 2021, we almost doubled the number of points we merchandised, while reducing our costs and growing income.
The success of the ADCB Mobile Banking App is supporting growth in international money transfers, with remittance transaction volumes on mobile banking growing by 30% in 2021. We now account for 26%2 of bank remittances from the UAE—making ADCB one of the market leaders—at a time when banks have been gaining market share from exchange houses.
Meanwhile, the Private Banking business recorded a 30% increase in its high-net-worth client base. Our experienced team provides exceptional levels of personal support and global market insight, supplemented by increasing digital capabilities to support a portfolio-based approach to investment decision-making.
Simplylife, aimed at the mass market segment, delivered a strong performance and now supports almost 200,000 customers with a range of tailor-made products and services. In 2021, we transformed the business, moving from a conventional product service to a digitally-driven mobile-first offering. With a new robust platform, Simplylife will collaborate with fintech companies and other ecosystem partners to provide greater value to customers.
Our merchant acquiring business also achieved significant growth, with the number of retailer clients rising 45% to 8,160 at the end of 2021, with point of sale (POS) and e-commerce spending expanding at a similar rate. Meanwhile, our auto loans business grew 18% during the year.
The asset quality of our Consumer Banking loan portfolio remains strong as the Bank maintained a disciplined approach to risk management. In particular, ADCB has taken a responsible and practical approach to customers who experienced temporary liquidity issues as a result of the pandemic.
Having been the first bank to introduce a comprehensive package of support in early 2020, including loan deferrals and fee reductions, we maintained a high level of engagement with impacted customers throughout 2021 to support recovery and the resumption of repayments.
Having placed accelerated digital transformation at the core of its five-year strategy, the Bank rolled out a series of enhancements to its digital channels, while investing in longer-term projects that reimagine the future customer experience.
Self-service customer transactions
Among new developments, the Bank began to offer credit card loans through its Mobile Banking app, introduced a new portal to facilitate digital Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, and brought FlexiPay to Internet and Mobile Banking to allow conversion of outstanding credit card balances into instalments. In November, we launched the ADCB WhatsApp banking channel to offer customers information on our products and services, registering more than 75,000 customers by the end of the year. The service provides an innovative AI-powered chatbot to help resolve queries in real time.
One of the most popular new digital offerings was an IPO Online Portal, providing customers with a straightforward process to subscribe to public share offerings at a time when capital markets activity in the region is on the rise. The portal transformed ADCB into one of the most significant receiving banks for UAE listings in 2021, helping to diversify revenue streams further. The service accounted for three quarters of applications received by the Bank for the share offering by Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat). This resulted in ADCB playing a key role in the first IPO on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange since 2017.
In 2021, the Bank pressed ahead with many strategic digital initiatives for launch in the coming year. We are broadening our partnerships, driven by the belief that ADCB’s strong brand equity adds significantly to the trust factor on open platforms connecting the digital economy.
Our enhanced digital offering is producing high levels of customer engagement, with registrations for the ADCB Mobile Banking App climbing 27% to surpass the milestone of 850,000 customers in 2021. Including Internet Banking, total subscribers to the Bank’s digital platforms have now crossed 980,000, with 95% of transactions conducted electronically.
Customers onboarded digitally
As has been the case across the banking industry, the global pandemic has precipitated the shift in customer preference away from branch-based service. We have therefore continued to optimise the branch network—a process that began as soon as the merger with Union National Bank and acquisition of Al Hilal Bank were legally completed in 2019—while recognising that a certain level of demand for in-person service remains. The Bank permanently closed many branches that had suspended operations during nationwide lockdowns in 2020. We operate 54 branches in prime locations across the UAE. This footprint is now at pre-merger levels, compared to a post-merger peak of 127 branches.
In 2021, ADCB was recognised as the ‘Most Recommended Retail Bank’ and the ‘Most Helpful Bank’ during Covid-19 in the Middle East in the Asian Banker Bank Quality Consumer Survey. The awards reflect the comprehensive and highly effective approach the Bank adopted to support customers through financial difficulties. A solid NPS score of 63 and the market-leading ratings for our apps also demonstrate our commitment to customers and our culture of service excellence.
To further enhance customer engagement and personalisation, we are investing in advanced data analytics to foster better and closer connections. Among other benefits, this will provide us with powerful, real-time insight into customer behaviour and their evolving needs.
By continuously investing in service excellence, the Consumer Banking Group has established a sustainable franchise that achieves broad-based growth while building a next-generation digital offering that will go beyond banking.
Our leading Islamic Banking franchise offers a wide range of Shari’ah-compliant products and services to Consumer, Wholesale and Treasury clients. Islamic Banking customers grew 17% in 2021, with 70% welcomed to the Bank through the ‘Hayyak’ onboarding app, reflecting our continued focus on digital channels and innovation.
In recognition of significant business achievements, we were recognised as ‘Best Islamic Retail Banking Window’ in the UAE by the Islamic Retail Banking Awards (IRBA) committee managed by Cambridge Islamic Finance UK.
As part of ADCB’s emphasis on continuous learning and development, more than 1,300 staff completed the Certified Islamic Banking Executive programme. As a result of this focus on employee development, ADCB Islamic Banking won the ‘Investors in People IRBA’ award.
We were recognised as best ‘Islamic Retail Banking Window’ in the UAE by the Islamic Retail Banking Awards (IRBA) committee
Managed by Cambridge Islamic Finance UK.
Micro-businesses are an increasingly important driver of the growth and diversification of the UAE economy, contributing to an increase in skilled employment.
Through our ‘Business Choice Account’ (BCA), we support a growing number of these firms in their corporate development journey, assessing each client every quarter to ensure the Bank is providing the right support at the right level.
We already support more than 40,000 customers in this sector who benefit from cash management and trade solutions, credit cards, and loan facilities. New BCA accounts are opening at the rate of more than 1,000 every month. The simplicity of the service has helped double the number of CASA accounts in the past 12 months. It has also increased engagement and created new opportunities to serve clients as their businesses grow. Transaction volumes are rising too, fuelled by trade and foreign exchange, alongside payroll activity.
I run a children’s skill development institute. Pace Pay has helped us streamline and ease the payment process at the institute. Daily sales can be viewed without waiting for an update from the Bank. Thank you, ADCB, for a great product. It’s perfect for SMEs.
Minds Ahead Institute
Our Pace Pay app, created in partnership with Visa, has become a game-changing initiative to support SMEs and micro-businesses as they adapt to an increasingly cashless economy. This innovative app was launched during the early months of the global pandemic and now equips more than 800 small businesses across the UAE with digital payment infrastructure at zero cost per transaction.
Working on a subscription model, ADCB Pace Pay provides a virtual POS solution that allows merchants to use their smartphones and tablets to scan credit or debit cards in-store. It also allows for remote payments by generating payment links that can be shared via social media such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger as well as by SMS and email.
The solution eliminates the need to invest in a physical POS terminal, while enabling business intelligence through an interactive dashboard. It is pre-integrated into a payment gateway, making it easier for smaller merchants to transition to e-commerce without the long and expensive integration process.
The Bank can assess credit risk effectively through advanced data analytics, allowing ADCB to extend its products and services to micro and SME businesses.
We started Pace Pay for our football academy customers over a year ago. It’s simply a brilliant way to collect payments. Reliable, simple, and fast. What makes the product even better is the 24/7 excellent service that the team provides.
TFA Football Academy