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Internship at the Bank Audi Lebanon

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Dear Dr. El Hokayem,

In the following report, I will be discussing my internship experience which took place in the Bank Audi Elyssar, Lebanon from 14 August till 7 September 2017. The internship took place in two main places, the head office in downtown Beirut and the branch in Elyssar. Once per week we had to go to the head office in downtown and spend the day there attending presentations from managers at the bank who talked about the different departments in the bank and the services Bank Audi gives. In the report, I focused about the departments of Bank Audi and my experience that I gained through this internship. I also mentioned the added value, course evaluation, and suggestions about the overall internship. The nature of the internship at Bank Audi restricted my report mainly to information about the departments, how the banking system works, and the services Bank Audi give. I would like to thank you for the time to read my report.

Best regards,

Charbel Gemayel

Outline

Introduction

Founded in 1830, Bank Audi is a regional Bank. It operates principally in Lebanon, the MENA region and, Turkey, offering a full range of products and services that principally cover commercial and corporate banking, retail and personal banking and private banking, as well as ancillary activities such as Capital Market activities and factoring. As at end-March 2018, the Bank ranked first among Lebanese banks in terms of total assets (LL 65,550 billion), shareholders’ equity (LL 6,444 billion), customers’ deposits (LL 48,542 billion), loans and advances (LL 23,476 billion) and net profits in the first quarter of 2018 (LL 172 billion). In addition to its historic presence in Lebanon, Switzerland and France, the Group currently operates in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi (through a representative office), Monaco, Turkey and Iraq. Bank Audi has 6,430 employees, including 3,353 persons employed in Lebanon, 1,149 persons employed at Odea Bank in Turkey and 1,414 persons employed at Bank Audi Egypt.

Banking system

The banking system is a very complex system that requires smart strategies, planning and maintaining quality. Bank Audi has ticked all of the above, being ranked number one in Lebanon in the banking sector as of march 2018. Bank Audi has four main types of divisions,

  1. Corporate & Commercial Banking:
  2. Corporate Banking: Mainly deals with small, mid-sized, and large corporate clients, and offer them a wide variety of services. Some of these services include:

    • Equipment loans: Bank Audi offers its customers customized loans to meet there demands, by offering them loans to meet there operational demands (such as machines, equipment, supplies…)
    • Commercial real estate services: Bank Audi offers business loans to buy a certain land or facility, because not all firms have the liquidity to do such investments so Bank Audi tailors special loans to meet the request of their customers
    • Business loans: Represents the largest area in corporate banking, and Bank Audi offers tailored loans for their customers and work alongside the customer in portfolio evaluation, growth analysis, and cash management
    • Financial products: such as trade finance, performance bonds, letters of credit.

    As a result of the wide variety of services Bank Audi offers in corporate banking, it has the largest corporate loan portfolio among Lebanese Banks (USD 11.27 billion)

    Commercial Banking: Is a division in the bank in which customers open checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs, provide banks with the capital to make loans. Customers who deposit money into these accounts effectively lend money to the bank and are paid interest. The bank then lends this capital to customers who are in need of loans at a higher interest rate. This is the basic concept of the banking system and how it works, the bank takes money from the deposits (surplus) and lends the money to people who are in need of cash (deficit).

  3. Retail Banking: is the typical mass-market banking in which individual customers use local branches of larger commercial banks. Services offered include savings and checking accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit/credit cards. All banks aim to make their retail banking division a one stop all in all shop to offer many financial services to consumers. These branches however have high costs, so banks are looking at new technological development to improve services at a much lower cost through online banking, ATMs, ITMs and many more. Bank Audi’s digital transformation journey began several years ago; by introducing NOVO, touchscreens, video banking services and many other self-service channels. As at March 31, 2017, the bank offered more than 150 retail products and services to more than 1 million retail clients across the countries of presence of Bank Audi. The product ranges include checking and savings accounts, fixed-term deposits, bank insurance products, loans and residential mortgages, SME lending, credit cards, as well as a host of innovative retail products developed in association with leading partners across the region. As of march 2018 Bank Audi’s retail portfolio is at $3.23 billion.
  4. Private Banking: Bank Audi Private Bank is the management responsible for Bank Audi’s private bank. It operates through three main places Lebanon, Switzerland, and Saudi Arabia. In 1976, Bank Audi’s private bank was established and has maintained an ever growing strong customer base. Private banking is not a typical bank, it is for high net worth individuals who have to deposit a minimum of $250,000 to be able to open an account. Bank Audi’s private bank offers many high end services such as with full access to major markets worldwide and global investment products, including discretionary portfolio management, investment advisory, trade execution in all asset classes, Lombard credit, and other private banking services such as estate planning, fiduciary deposits, safe custody and credit cards. As of march 2018 Bank Audi’s assets under management (AUM), custody accounts, and fiduciary deposits were $10.99 billion.
  5. Investment banking, and capital markets: since.1996, the.Bank has .developed a substantial capital markets franchise. In Lebanon, the Bank is a market maker on the Beirut Stock Exchange with an 18% market share. of trading volumes by value, as at December 29, 2017. The Bank also has a.significant share of the Government. Eurobond and Treasury Bills markets, with an annual trading volume exceeding U.S. $9 billion in 2017. Within MENA, the bank is active in the.equities.market, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and has a presence in the regions’ fixed income markets. The Institutional Coverage desk, established in 2012, continues to.develop new.and existing relationships with global non-bank financial institutions in order to cater to.international appetite for higher.yielding instruments. This activity.is reinforced by the Bank’s extensive regional macro, sector and markets research.coverage business.

In.line.with.the.Bank’s.expansion.strategy.capital.markets.has.extended .client.and product coverage to.offer corporate clients more.sophisticated FX hedging.products to mitigate their currency and interest rate exposures.

Human Resources Department

The Human resources department is one of the key factors to any firm’s success, and Bank Audi takes its HR department very seriously. When a person applies to work they give him two interviews, then training, then a test to be accepted. This is because Bank Audi makes sure that every new joiner is fully qualified to work at the bank. The program contains a certain period in training which contains of basics training about the banking system and how to use the POS system at the bank, after the training is done the applicant will apply for an exam and if the exam is passed , he/she will be accepted as a new employee at Bank Audi.

The HR department is responsible for payment of salaries, wages, compensations and other payments not related to salaries, following employees’ affairs in terms of attendance, end of service benefits and social benefits.

Provision of medical and hospital services to bank employees and retirees.

The Human Resources Directorate consists of several departments. Human Resources Development Department, Strategic Planning Department, Payroll and Wages Department, Personnel Affairs, Medical Services, and Audit Department.

The HR department also looks at the career path and succession plan of each employee and job.

The Human Resources Department is in direct contact with all the directorates and branches of the bank, because it is concerned with the affairs of the employees in all these units.

It is also related to the National Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Finance.

Foreign Exchange Department

The foreign exchange department is a department at Bank Audi where experts trade international markets using the money that is at the bank. Usually high end customers invest in this department, and usually these investors are from the private banking division of the bank. A group of experts and analysts handle the foreign exchange department, they trade stocks, bonds, currencies, treasury bills.

Foreign exchange is buying of one currency and selling another simultaneously.

The Forex market takes place all over the world and has the highest daily volume of any other market in the world. Banks, managed funds, and individual traders can all trade in the Forex market.

Currencies are quoted at two prices bid and ask, ask is the price at which the investor buys and ask is at which the investor sells. The investor buys at a higher price and sells at a lower price.

In most FX quotes, the USD is the base currency, however there are exceptions to this Rule. EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD are base currencies when paired with the USD. For example in EUR/USD, if a trader wants to buy USD, he or she should ask the broker to sell EUR since EUR is the base currency.

Stocks have the same concept of bid and ask, however stocks are much more risky than currencies because of high volatility.

There are two ways approaches for analyzing stocks or currencies. There is fundamental analysis, which concentrates on the underlying causes of price movements; and the technical analyst, which studies the price movement themselves.

Corporate Social Responsibility program (CSR)

Corporate Social responsibility was created by Bank Audi with a concept that every business is supposed to make a profit margin, however this profit margin should be done by respecting the community and the planet. The CSR program integrates social, environmental, ethical human rights and human concerns into business operations.

Bank Audi created this program to convert the bank into an environmentally friendly bank. By managing carbon footprint and volunteering with NGOs.

I volunteered with “Kibarouna” through Bank Audi’s CSR program, we went to a school in Ajaltoun where we met the elderly and spent the day with them, playing chess, taking photos and had lunch together. It was a wonderful experience and just shows how much Bank Audi takes the CSR program seriously.

The CSR program also has something for the new generation (kids). The CSR team spends a day with a group of kids teaching them the value of money and the value of saving your money instead of spending it.

Branch system

Most of the time of my internship program I spent was at the branch in Elyssar, where I learned how the operational side of the banking system worked.

At the base of the branch there are tellers, who basically handle the customer’s transaction needs.

There are many rules applied when being a teller, every penny that enter from outside the bank has to be checked in order to maintain fake money risk.

Behind the tellers there are two supervisors who have to sign on every transaction note that the tellers make, and handle any issue that arises from late checks, checks with no balance in the account and many other duties.

On the second floor, there are counters for loans and loan proposals, here a client will come and ask for a loan, then the employee will put on the system the info of this client (income, where he lives…) and the system will calculate how much to grant this customer at what rate and for how long.

In every branch there is an office boy, who is responsible for the needs of the branch from water to paper, to tidiness of the branch

Finally, there is the branch manager, who is responsible for the whole branch and manages it.

SME

Is a program created by Bank Audi for small, medium-sized enterprises (SME) . It is a program that grants and tailors loans for customers with in need of cash up to $100,000. With no collateral on the loan.

This is to build solid, long-term business relationships with customers

Bank Audi offers many types of SME loans:

  1. Business loan: a loan to finance renovation, new equipment, buying a franchise, patent, for a comfortable period
  2. Empower card: a flexible loan in the form of a plastic card to buy assets, equipment, machinery, capital expenditures.
  3. POS cash advance: cash advance to finance daily business expenses such as purchasing good, paying salaries and paying rent.
  4. Power card: Finance daily running expenses through flexible standby loan, in the form of a car.
  5. Premises loan: Contains two borrowing programs with flexible plans
  6. Transact packages: which offers free banking transactions along with a reward program
  7. Kafalat loan: Kafalat is a Lebanese financial company that helps SMEs by providing loan guarantees that are to be provided by Lebanese banks to SMEs based on business plans and feasibility studies that show the viability of the proposed business activity. Kafalat is 75% owned by the National Institute for the Guarantee of Deposits and 25% by fifty Lebanese banks. The loan guarantee is given to productive loans creating added value, or for all business related expenditures that include fixed assets and working capital. The cost of the loan is 2.5% on the guaranteed amount every year over the loan period. 3‰ on the Guaranteed Amount during the First Year. In addition to interest calculation and BDL subsidy.

Special Investigation Commission

As a bank, by law no form of money laundering is allowed. So Bank Audi has special steps and rules when it come to this matter.

Money Laundering is a world-wide issue and Bank Audi has implemented rules to control money laundering. For example, no client can deposit cash or a check whose value is greater than $10,000 with no clear proof that the money came legally and not illegally.

For example, one day I was at the branch and a women came to deposit a check with a value of $70,000. She claimed that the money was from a land she sold, so the bank required legal documents that she used to own the land and the paper for the sale of the land.

She didn’t have the sales document so the check was rejected and she was asked to bring the remaining documents.

This is a way Bank Audi contributes to fighting money laundering, by applying strict rules.

Conclusion

All in all, the internship program at Bank Audi was a great experience. I am studying Banking and finance, when I started the internship program I thought I knew most of the things in the banking system, however it turned out I have a lot to learn. All the instructors new their material and explained it in a very effective way, there attitude and there personalities was of the charts.

My colleagues in the internship program were very nice and helpful, I got to meet a lot of people.

It was an amazing experience which taught me a lot about Bank Audi, how the bank operates, the moral of the bank and how they plan ahead to stay number 1.

Added Value

Personally, I always wanted to know more about Bank Audi and how it operates. The combination of sessions which took place at the headquarters in Beirut and the branch in Elyssar was exactly what I needed. I gained an experience that is found nowhere else, and more specifically important knowledge about the departments at Bank Audi.

Having attended all of the sessions in the Elyssar branch, it was fun to meet all the employees at the branch who were very helpful and became my friends. It was fun meeting the people at the headquarters who were more than nice to me and my internship colleagues. One of the best days was the day I spent with the elderly at “Kibarouna”, getting to hang out with the elderly and getting to know my colleagues even more.

The overall experience was very positive in all its aspects. In addition to the information I gained from the sessions, I also enjoyed the short talks in the breaks which allowed me to know more about every colleague. I really enjoyed that what I learned in university I saw in all my internship experience, the banking system, how loans are created to be profitable. The bank is known to give loans, he pays a certain interest rate on deposits (about 6%), and earns an interest on loans (about 13%), so the 7% difference is the bank’s profit. The bank has a certain limit to how much he can give loans, there is a ratio which is taken from the bank’s deposits that the bank can use to give loans. I also saw the basics of accounting (debit credit) in the system the teller’s use, if they want to take cash from a customer they credit the customer’s account, if they want to give the customer money they debit his/her account.

Course Evaluation

All of the Instructors, each in his or her field, were well prepared for the sessions, in general everyone made sure that we got the appropriate information.

The sessions were distributed in a very professional way to keep the students motivated.

The sessions were well organized thanks to Ms. Lilian Abou Hamdan from the HR department.

Suggestions

There should be more case studies to be given about the banking system, other than that everything was perfect. A case study really helps the intern in discovering how the bank handles complex issues such as what the bank does when the interest rates rise, giving cases that include when someone is under investigation for money laundering, what are the procedures taken, it helps the intern understand more the density of issues the bank goes through and letting the intern make the decision and then show him what really happened at that time of trouble. This is a very important exercise Bank Audi should make the intern take. In the internship they tested us when we went to the Headquarters in Beirut, but it would have been more effective if they gave us cases and graded us, and made us do presentations so that we learn from other colleagues how they solved the case and participate in assessing other team’s work.

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Internship at the Bank Audi Lebanon. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internship-at-the-bank-audi-lebanon/
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Internship at the Bank Audi Lebanon. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internship-at-the-bank-audi-lebanon/> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2021].
Internship at the Bank Audi Lebanon [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 May 14 [cited 2021 Jan 28]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/internship-at-the-bank-audi-lebanon/
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