MANAMA, BAHRAIN - 13 October 2019 - A senior Bahrain banker said that the Kingdom continues to lead the charge in financial innovation, with both local authorities as well as banks and other financial institutions making major contributions to reshaping the industry.
Ahmed Abdul Rahim, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based Islamic retail bank, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB), made the comment after renewing Ithmaar Bank's strategic partnership with Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB), one of the region's most advanced Financial Technology (FinTech) ecosystems.
Ithmaar Bank, which was recently named 'Best Bank for Personal Finance in Bahrain' by the World Union of Arab Bankers (WUAB), was a Founding Partner of BFB and has supported and worked closely with them since their establishment two years ago. The renewed agreement extends the partnership for another two years.
Working with local authorities, including the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Labour Fund 'Tamkeen', for example, Ithmaar Bank and Eazy Financial Services, a Bahrain FinTech company focusing on providing biometric technologies, formally announced in May the region's first biometric-enabled ATM network. His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister, had in March 2019 inaugurated the Eazy biometric payment network by making Ithmaar Bank the first biometric bank in the region.
This, and other similar innovations have helped earn Bahrain international praise and recognition with the CBB being named 'Most Innovative Fintech Regulator Of The Year' by Fintech Galaxy, a digital crowdfunding platform, during FinX 2019, a Fintech event held on 2 October 2019 in Dubai, UAE. The Award recognizes the regulation entity that is actively investing and improving their FinTech start-up seamless experience and was conferred on the CBB for its initiatives in introducing and developing both the regulatory framework and ecosystem needed to support the ambition of FinTech start-ups and existing financial institutions.
'As a pioneering Islamic retail bank, Ithmaar Bank recognizes the important role we must play in reinforcing the Kingdom of Bahrain's leading role as a key banking and financial services hub in the region,' said Abdulrahim. 'Our continuous support as a Founding Partner for the BFB, and the close work we do with them as well as with local authorities underscores how seriously we take this commitment,' he said.
'We are delighted that these efforts are paying off and that, under the leadership and guidance of the CBB, Bahrain is earning the recognition it deserves,' said Abdul Rahim. 'FinTech is reshaping the banking and financial services industry globally and, working with the BFB, we are helping lead the charge. This close collaboration between the banks, the regulator and the other national authorities, creates a powerful competitive advantage for Bahrain and helps keep the Kingdom at the forefront of innovation,' he said.