AlexBank Retracts Announcement of a New Historical Building Branch

Big 5

In a quick response to Amwal Al Ghad’s latest report about a new branch housed in the one of the most vital historical sites in Alexandria without Egyptian Central Bank’s approval, AlexBank – subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo Group – made a contradictory statement on Saturday.

The bank stated that the new branch was not officially opened yet, and the big ceremony made last Thursday was only to celebrate the completion of renovating the former Italian Consulate headquarters building.

Such remarks are in fact contradicting with a former press release sent by AlexBank last Thursday to the media about opening up its newest branch in the Raml Station area in Alexandria, as a part of As its continued plan to revamp its network. According to the press release made last Thursday announcing the new branch, AlexBank revealed that it is housed in the former Italian Consulate headquarters building; one of the oldest historical buildings in the city of Alexandria.

Roberto Vercelli – CEO of ALEXBANK – expressed his delight at opening the branch saying, the new branch is specially regarded among all other AlexBank branches because it is a flagship exclusively designed for SME and Affluent customers(MAGNIFICA), therefore confirming the bank’s “support to SMEs which are considered the real backbone of the economy during the next phase”.

In contrary with Thursday’s remarks, AlexBank today is claiming that the opening ceremony was just to celebrate the renovation of the historical building. If that’s true, why the bank did not mention such a fact in its former release instead of announcing to all the mass media the launch of AlexBank’s newest branch?

The fact is that AlexBank seems to play around after Amwal Al Ghad had referred in its latest report last Thursday to the bank’s launch of a new branch housed in a major historical building and without the approval of the central bank. The paper highlighted AlexBank’s clear violation of the Central Bank’s laws, and accordingly required a decisive intervention from CBE to stop such a misdeed.

Last Thursday, Amwal Al Ghad exclusively made a report unveiling AlexBank’s opening of a new branch housed in the 133-old former Italian Consulate headquarters building, taking unfairly advantage of one of the most vital historical sites in the city.

The former Italian Consulate headquarters, a Neo-Renaissance Venetian-style building, was erected in 1880 on a project of Italian architect Enrico Bovio, to provide consular services for the Italian community in Egypt and for Egyptians as well. Building the Consulate move was many years much earlier before the start of exchanging ambassadors between Egypt and Italy in 1914.

The former consulate building is a masterpiece of the Italian architecture in Alexandria, enjoying an amazing panoramic view of the shore of the shiny blue Mediterranean Sea.

Despite having a big celebration on Thursday announcing the official launch, sources asserted to Amwal Al Ghad that AlexBank did not obtain the Egyptian Central Bank’s approval to inaugurate its new branch housed in the former Italian Consulate building.

The sources further explained that Roberto Vercelli, CEO of AlexBank, seems to circumvent the CBE laws, through opening the new branch but without the start of any banking transactions there before an official approval from the Central Bank is issued

At the same time, the sources said today Vercelli was officially launching the new branch in the presence of many employees to work normally in the bank, ignoring to take any prior approval from the Central Bank.

Moreover, the report referred to another more suspicious move that AlexBank’s management has dedicated a special office for the Italian Vice Consul inside the bank’s new branch, which was named ‘AlexBank’s Italian Consulate Branch’

This step as well is violating the terms and regulations of the Central Bank to name the branch after the Italian Consulate despite its closure. This signals the fact that the AlexBank’s CEO is clearly in breach of the Egyptian banking system laws, the sources noted.

Furthermore, the sources had illustrated that the AlexBank’s management represented in Vercelli has also ignored the wide public outcry from local and Italian businessmen and traders against turning a monumental architectural building into a bank branch. Around 200 businessmen and traders had recently marched a protest to defend their businesses in Alexandria. They were also protesting due to the fact that the Italian Consulate in Alexandria used to help them in completing their deals within ten days maximum, unlike the Cairo office where it takes one month to perform such services.

The monumental building was not only a former Italian Consulate headquarters, but also a centre for spreading the Italian culture and demonstrating the common cultural history between Cairo and Rome. The building was a hub of holding art galleries, and other vital cultural events aiming to boost the ties between Egypt and Italy.

The report was concluded by highlighting Vercelli’s previous controversial attitude towards the Egyptian laws since the Italian official formerly released cynical remarks against the ‘Long Live Egypt’ Fund, dedicated to boost cash-strapped national economy. He formerly asserted that his bank would not contribute to the fund, showing his uncertainty and said how the bank could donate without having any basic information about whom would run the fund, and how donations would be spent. Yet, he later withdrew those remarks and announced the bank’s contribution to the fund.