UAE Exchange – meeting the digital age head on
Going digital to meet an upsurge in remittances – this quarter we head to the Middle East to talk online money solutions and real-time customer needs with UAE Exchange’s Abdul Kareem
UAE Exchange was founded in 1980. The 35-plus year financial institution has grown into one of the leading global remittances, foreign exchange and payment solutions brands in the world. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the company is now present in 31 countries across five continents with close to 800 branches.
This quarter Ding Dispatch speaks to UAE Exchange’s Country Head, Abdul Kareem about the upsurge in money remittance and how to keep a strong connection with 15 million customers.
Ding: Tell us a little about your UAE Exchange journey, and talk to us about the inspiration for the company in general?
Abdul Kareem: My UAE Exchange journey began more than 10 years ago when having had over 12 years of experience in the financial sector, I joined as the Executive Director/General Manager for UAE Exchange Jordan.
I have a strong track record in handling Arab markets and understand the expectations in the UAE. This helped me expand our operations in Jordan, Morocco. I worked closely with the leadership team to align many processes included setting policies and procedures for the company to comply with Central Bank of Jordan rules and regulations. Today, I hold the position of Country Head, UAE operations, along with the Jordon and Morocco operations.
In terms of the inspiration for the company – UAE Exchange was established in 1980 by the visionary legend Mr. B R Shetty.
“we’ve implemented FinTech solutions globally bringing about a transformation in the remittance and foreign exchange industry.”
Over time, UAE Exchange has helped create an impressive track record of excellence in what can be dynamic, and demanding environments to operate in, while remaining pragmatic and focused on our core competencies. With over 800 direct offices, the company has spread its footprint to 32 countries across five continents. Today, we strive to achieve excellence and bring delight to our more than 15 million customers worldwide.
Keeping pace with technology
Ding: What are the benefits of your service for customers?
Abdul Kareem: Customer-centricity for us is not just about offering great customer service, but about providing a great experience to our customers. Being a one stop-shop – or providing a single point for our customers financial requirements is a primary objective. Our aim is to provide 24/7 customer convenience and first-class sales support across all our branches.
We have invested greatly in training resources – we did this in order to create highly skilled consultants who are capable of understanding customer issues and who can meet their needs in real-time. We take customer engagement very seriously and strive to constantly connect with our customers via our multi-communications channels.
Keeping pace with the latest technology is a challenge we enjoy – we’ve introduced the best-in-class online money transfer solution which allows anyone to send money directly from his/her bank account / debit card / credit card, to their beneficiary while sitting in the comfort of their home, office, or anywhere else.
Ding: What changes are the internet and ecommerce bringing to your business?
Abdul Kareem: Over time, we’ve made a tremendous shift beyond the scope of an average remittance transfer service. We’ve adopted digital channels for remittances that potentially eliminate the need for more costly agent networks and physical agent locations with the introduction of our online money transfer solution.
“In today’s digital age, the opportunities are plentiful.”
Unlike the bricks and mortar businesses, we’ve implemented FinTech solutions globally bringing about a transformation in the remittance and foreign exchange industry, allowing us to stay ahead of the competition.
Ding: Remittances to low-and middle-income countries are on the rise again according to the World Bank – is this something UAE Exchange has witnessed?
Abdul Kareem: Remittances are certainly on the rise – we have seen this especially to Asian corridors — especially to India, Pakistan, Nepal and the Philippines. We’ve been noticing this upsurge and we believe this is mainly due to the strong economic conditions in developed economies like GCC, the US and Europe.
In fact, we have witnessed the Indian rupee hit a record 20 for the first time against UAE dirham and a drastic Rupee-Dollar fluctuation in recent times.
Ding: How big is the market opportunity you are pursuing with UAE Exchange?
Abdul Kareem: In today’s digital age, the opportunities are plentiful. One example is we are experiencing a heavy usage of self-service kiosks across the country.
Kiosks have taken over the modern business realm and it has become a potentially beneficial tool for marketing. Interactive kiosks now offer experiential marketing to potential customers, which means customers have already shown interest to the products and services they need. We believe we are up to par with the digital age in the remittance and foreign exchange industry.
Ding: What is the biggest lesson you have learned during your career so far?
Abdul Kareem: In my career, I’ve seen the tremendous business transformations that positive teamwork can bring about, and in my view this results in increased profitability.
Ding: What’s the last concert you have been to?
Abdul Kareem: Julio iglesius
Ding: What would you say is the best part of your day?
Abdul Kareem: Morning coffee with my family.
Ding: What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?
Abdul Kareem: I have a great passion for football and travel.