Libya’s first Digital Bank can go on to become a regional giant like Brazil’s Nubank, Jamal Abdel Malek, its founder said. He was speaking exclusively to Libya Herald at the Libyan Banking Sector Development Forum 8 to 9 November in Tunis.
A respected Libyan banking pioneer
A respected pioneering Libyan banker, Abdel Malik was until very recently chairman of the (Libyan) Bank of Commerce and Development (BCD). The BCD was the first private sector bank to be established in the Qaddafi era. It is still today the largest private sector Libyan bank.
LD 200 million capital
Abdel Malik announced the creation of the Libyan Digital Bank on 1 October. ‘‘It will have a capital of LD 200 million, of which 40 percent will be paid up. The founders are a mixture of investors, men and women, including doctors, businesspeople and others’’, he explained.
‘‘We are dreaming of creating a good online bank that deals with financial technology without customers having to come to their branch. Customers would use the internet, their mobiles and any other medium’’.
Open a digital account in 5 to 8 minutes
‘‘They don’t need the usual long list of complicated documents needed in Libya to open a bank account. All they need is a selfie photograph and a passport or some sort of acceptable ID. We would take a picture of the selfie and their ID and email address and would open an account in 5 to 8 minutes!’’
Access to major credit cards within 3 days
‘‘The account would access customers to various debit and credit cards, including visa, Mastercard and American Express. These could be issued within three days and posted to the customers’’.
‘‘We are not a traditional bank, but we would offer numerous online banking services. Like the banks in the rest of the world, such as the famous Brazilian digital bank, Nubank. It has tens of millions of customers but have no branches. That’s because customers don’t want to have to go into a bank branch. They like the convenient procedures. They deal through the various remote modern technology’’.
‘‘This is what we are dreaming of establishing. We hope to have a contract with a core banking and digital software supplier. A very famous American company: Finestra. They promised us that within 3 months we would be online. So, we are very optimistic’’.
Nubank, which Abdel Malik referred to as the example of his new digital bank, is headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was launched in 2013. In 2021 it had revenues of US$ 1.69 billion and total assets of US$ 19.8 bn. It is the largest fintech bank in Latin America and on launching its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, it was valued at US$ 45 billion. It now has over 50 million customers in Brazil and another 1.5 million in Latin America.