National Bank of Kuwait
Head of Sales and Distribution Channels
National Bank of Kuwait received the Distribution gold award for its self-service branch program at the Qorus Reinvention Awards – MEA 2023. This program expands the bank's reach by deploying several self-service branches across the country, enabling it to provide banking solutions to underserved regions and encouraging customers to transition to digital offerings. Ghadeer Al-Awadhi, Head of Sales and Distribution Channels at NBK, shares more insights with us.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at NBK?
I’m Ghadeer Al-Awadhi, Head of Sales and Distribution Channels. I lead multiple teams that are responsible for building new relationships and expanding on current customer experiences through acquisition, servicing and growing the relationship. These teams include domestic branches, direct sales teams, contact center teams (includes the digital team, retention team and anti financial crime team), and business (SME) banking.
I have the mandate of leading 1450+ bankers and professionals that are interacting daily with NBK customers. I’m focused on aligning the bank’s resources towards catering to the banking wants and needs while providing an exceptional customer experience.
Middle Eastern and African innovation excellence in the spotlight at the first-ever Qorus Reinvention Awards
What made you most proud of the self-service branch project? What was your greatest achievement in making it happen?
I am proud that NBK has been recognized for its innovative initiative, which was a statement set forth by NBK to announce that branches can indeed cater to most of our banking needs without any physical staff present in the same location. Digital enablement of branches has been critical in equipping NBK self-service branches with the latest technology, complemented with modern elegant designs to provide the right customer experience.
Within a short period of two years, NBK has managed to roll out (from idea to operations) four self-service branches that have been placed mainly in either remote, closed campuses or areas that would not have been chosen for a typical full-fledged branch.
24/7 self-service branches have proven to be a great platform for specific sales activities where relevant at high impact periods, depending on the location. Self-service branches are also critical in offloading numerous transactions that would have required a visit to a staff-assisted counter at a standard branch.
Which technologies and innovations do you expect to impact the banking industry powerfully in the next five years?
Self-service machines have been utilized to operate self-service branches; so far these mainly include interactive teller machines, cash deposit machines and automated teller machines. The plan is to further utilize machines and technology to serve customers digitally and physically with self-service solutions.
The exciting challenge of identifying what future technologies can be utilized includes a wide list of opportunities, and NBK aims to review all possible solutions to meet its strategic objective of digital enablement.
Some banks tend to take big techs as their model and main competitors. What is your vision? And how do you see the future of banks?
Lessons learned from big techs are always inspiring and are business cases that all industries should learn and value. NBK, however, is committed to shaping its unique value proposition based on its deep understanding of its target customers and the unique wants and needs of its customers. NBK truly plans to invest more and more into customizing its solutions and offerings towards catering to the lifestyle of its target customers.
Banks in the future will clearly utilize digital, yet the human touch is key and should not be forgotten, and a true differentiator between banks and companies in general is the exceptional experience and what can you do for your customers that no one else is willing or has the capability to do.
What would you say to companies that might consider entering the 2024 Banking Innovation Awards?
Innovation should always be recognized and celebrated. All organizations that aim to provide value and grow should challenge themselves in this field to the highest extent possible. Innovation is a great topic to compete in, and that is where the bar is raised.
What does this award mean to you and your innovation team?
Innovation is not owned or facilitated by only one team in NBK, yet it is rather a shared part of the NBK professionals’ DNA. That being said, NBK is proud to be recognized in this field and shall continue to strive to mark its leadership position in numerous categories, which will always include innovation.
Qorus members can access a complete feature including a detailed presentation of all the winners here