Personal loans and other forms of credit are available from Egyptian banks in much the same way as they are from banks in the United Kingdom and United States and elsewhere. But whether a loan application is approved or not, as the case may be, is a completely separate matter. Haven’t we all been there at some point in our lives, fairly confident of a favourable decision but also worried the application might just be turned down? Of course we have.
Applying for a bank loan from HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds TSB or any other UK High Street bank is a very easy process nowadays, especially if you do it all online. It’s very much the same in Egypt. But notice all that ‘gobbledygook’ at the bottom of the UK web page?
Typically, it’ll mention something about being authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority or licensed by The Office of Fair Trading. Usually, you won’t find any equivalent at the bottom of the web page of an Egyptian bank or lender. That’s because financial services in the United Kingdom are more heavily regulated and controlled, which better protects the interests of consumers by making the whole process much more transparent.
Personal loans are taken out for all manner of reasons. You might want to use the money to buy a new car, a computer, furnishings for your home, or to go on a dream holiday. Whatever the reason, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is how much to borrow. And that may depend on your salary level and your credit history. Are you a good risk or a bad one? The banks will need to decide before letting go of any cash.
When looking to borrow money, shop around for the best deal. That’s good advice because the loan qualification criteria is likely to vary greatly from bank to bank. Some Egyptian banks will look for a monthly salary minimum of 1,000 EGP, while for others it will be two or three times greater than that. Some banks will set a borrowing ceiling of around 150,000 EGP while other banks will allow borrowing up to 600,000 EGP. Some will set a minimum loan term of six or 12 months, with a maximum term ranging from 36 to 60 months or even longer. Minimum age, too, is often different for each bank and can be anything from 21 years to 25 years
As you’ll no doubt quickly realise, terms and conditions really do vary enormously. Usually, most banking web sites have some kind of a loan calculator. Some are good and others leave a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, using a calculator will at least give you a basic idea of how much you’ll be able to borrow for a given level of monthly salary.
Approval can be fairly rapid or can take several days. Again it depends on which bank you go for. Naturally, documentation will be required although it’s usually minimal. You’ll obviously need to complete the loan application form and then produce suitable ID, such as your passport and residence visa. A letter from your employer will be necessary, too, confirming your monthly salary. You may also be required to produce a utility bill of some kind with your name on it.
For more information on banking in Egypt, visit the Central Bank of Egypt.