Manama, Bahrain: Bank ABC, MENA’s leading international bank, along with its subsidiaries, the digital, mobile-only, ila Bank, and the MEA region’s leading payment solutions provider and fintech enabler, Arab Financial Services (AFS), enter a founding partnership with Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB). This strategic alliance illustrates Bank ABC and Bahrain FinTech Bay‘s continued commitment to play a pivotal role in the development of the fintech ecosystem in the Kingdom of Bahrain and expedite its transformation into a cashless, digital economy.
As part of the agreement, Bank ABC Group representatives, Dr. Yousif Almas, Group Chief Innovation Officer, Mohamed Al Maraj, ila Bank Bahrain Chief Executive Officer, Amira Ismail, Head of Business Development – Acquiring, AFS, joined BFB’s advisory board to enhance collaboration between the two parties and support BFB’s endeavor to foster innovation and empower fintech start-ups to contribute to the development of the fintech landscape in Bahrain.
This partnership builds on Bank ABC’s commitment to lead the fintech revolution in the MENA region and support local efforts to attract fintechs and entrepreneurs to establish a footing in Bahrain and tap into the vast potential for innovative financial services in the MENA region. The MENA region’s growing youth population, with more than half of its residents under the age of 25, and large underserved blue-collar segments make it an ideal market to deploy inclusive fintech solutions.
On behalf of the Group, Bank ABC Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. Yousif Almas, remarked: “At Bank ABC, we are dedicated to cultivating disruptive thinking and innovation in the financial services industry. The current unprecedented pandemic underscores the importance of empowering customers with accessible digital solutions that fulfil their needs and has nudged financial institutions to rethink their offerings. We are delighted to facilitate the industry’s digital transformation through our collaboration with Bahrain FinTech Bay.”
On his part, ila Bank Bahrain CEO, Mohamed Al Maraj, said: “The success of our fast-growing digital, mobile only bank illustrates the strong appetite in the Kingdom of Bahrain for seamless, smart banking solutions that empower customers to take charge of their financial lives.”
“This is further evidenced by the surge in ila’s customer base and transaction volume, which has quadrupled, amid the current social distancing practices. Our partnership with Bahrain FinTech Bay will help us bridge the local community with a global network of fintech enablers and providers, boost efforts to create a vibrant digital economy and promote Bahrain as the region’s leading fintech hub, creating long-lasting positive change for our community,” he added.
Amira Ismail, Head of Business Development – Acquiring, AFS commented on the development: “AFS has been part of the larger regional fintech movement for many years. We are committed to expediting the growth and acceleration of fintech activities across payments ecosystems in Bahrain and beyond. Our innovative merchant acquiring and fintech solutions are game-changing and market leading offerings that support our partners, seamlessly embedding fintech innovation through lifestyle-driven solutions that enhance how we transact.”
Bahrain Fintech Bay Chief Executive Officer, Khalid Danish said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership across the Bank ABC group. Our commitment to enabling innovation within the financial services industry, coupled with our robust network of like-minded partners will further drive our strategic national efforts towards enhancing our digital economy.
During this global health crisis, innovation and ingenuity will be more significant than ever before. Through this collaboration we will support Bank ABC Group’s endeavor to deliver best in class solutions and services to collectively position the Kingdom of Bahrain as the leading FinTech hub in MENA.”
Bank ABC is a leading player in the region’s banking industry, with a presence in 15 countries across five continents. It provides global innovative Wholesale Banking coverage & products that include Corporate & Financial Institutions coverage, Transaction Banking (Trade Finance & Cash Management), Project and Structured finance, Syndications, Treasury and Financial Markets products and Islamic Banking. It also provides retail-banking services through its network of retail banks in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Brazil.
ila Bank is a digital, mobile only banking entity in Bahrain powered by Bank ABC, MENA’s leading international bank. Aided by Artificial Intelligence and data analytics, the intuitive app is designed to appeal and serve a wide section of users ranging from millennials and older age groups to blue collar workers. The app’s current offerings include completely digital onboarding, instant virtual card for online transactions, physical debit card, multi-currency account and a current account that offers interest without a minimum balance or tenure. ila app is available for download on Google Play and App stores. For more information, visit https://www.ilabank.com and follow ila Bank on social media @ilabankbhr.
Established in 1984, Arab Financial Services (AFS) is the MEA region’s leading digital payment solutions provider and FinTech enabler. AFS serves over 75 clients across the financial sector in more than 20 countries. A subsidiary of Bank ABC, it is owned by 37 banks and financial institutions and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The company offers innovative and end-to-end payment services and solutions that span card processing, merchant acquiring, FinTech and a state-of-the-art value-added services suite. AFS has offices and data centers in Bahrain, UAE and Oman, and was the first processor in the region to become Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) 3.2 certified. Recipient of several global awards, AFS has most recently been recognized as “Best Fintech Solutions Company 2019” and “The Most
Innovative Fintech Solution Provider 2018” at the GCC Enterprise Awards and “Best Payment Service Provider – Bahrain 2017” by Global Banking and Finance Review.
For further information, visit www.afs.com.bh.
Bahrain FinTech Bay is the leading FinTech Hub in the Middle East and aims to further the development, interaction and acceleration of the FinTech ecosystem. Bahrain FinTech Bay incubates impactful and scalable fintech initiatives through innovation labs, acceleration programs, curated activities, educational opportunities and collaborative platforms. Bahrain FinTech Bay partners with governmental bodies, financial institutions, corporates, consultancy firms, universities, associations, venture capital and fintech start-ups to bring the full spectrum of market participants together.