ila Bank introduces a new Islamic banking experience in Bahrain, while the Whampoa Group selects Bahrain as the headquarters for its new digital bank. Explore the latest developments in banking innovation in Bahrain.

A new Islamic banking experience is being introduced in Bahrain by ila Bank, and Bahrain has also been chosen as the headquarters of a new digital bank by the Singapore-based Whampoa Group.

Ila Bank serves a Muslim clientele

Alburaq, a new Islamic banking concept from ila Bank, aims to offer consumers a variety of individualized Shari’a-compliant banking services. The Shari’a supervisory board of Bank ABC Islamic is now in charge of the launch.

The long-standing Islamic finance division of Bank ABC, Bank ABC Islamic, is supporting “alburaq” and was recently recognized the “Best Islamic Financial Institution in Bahrain in 2023” by Global Finance. In response to ila Bank’s entry into the Islamic banking market, Bank ABC’s acting group CEO, Sael Al Waary, said: “Bank ABC revolutionized the retail banking landscape in Bahrain with the launch of our digital mobile-only ila Bank back in 2019.”

“Through ‘alburaq,’ we are now able to provide customers with a completely unique and highly personalized digital Islamic banking experience. This is made possible by combining the extensive Shari’a-compliant banking expertise of our Islamic finance department with ila’s innovative digital capabilities.

By introducing this entirely Islamic account from ila, we aim to provide Bahrain with an all-inclusive banking experience that caters to the country’s diverse market and offers a wide range of banking products that meet varying customer preferences, allowing us to further strengthen financial inclusion in the country.

Customers of ila who choose to create a new account on the ila mobile app can instantly move to alburaq. Moreover the account opening procedure simply takes a few minutes and just requires the user to scan a national ID card, snap a photo, and respond to a few questions thanks to ila’s integration with the country’s eKYC system.

Bahrain is chosen by Whampoa Group for its digital offering

And then in additional Bahrain-related news, Whampoa Group has decided to establish Bahrain as the headquarters of a new digital bank.

The digital bank will aim to provide secure and integrated financial solutions to institutions, innovators, and sophisticated investors globally. These solutions will include digital banking services and the trading, custody, as well as asset management of digital assets. The digital bank is anticipated to launch in the latter half of 2023.

Bahrain is the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) first and foremost center for the regulation of digital assets. It established itself as a key centre for crypto services and fintech innovations in the area by being among the first to issue crypto-asset licenses in the area.

The largest contributor to the economy in Bahrain is the financial services sector, which generates 17.5% of GDP, exceeding oil and actively promoting economic diversification.

The Bahrain Economic Development Board’s chief executive, Khalid Humaidan, spoke about the choice, saying, “We are pleased that Whampoa Group intends to establish the headquarters of their new digital bank in Bahrain as they would benefit from Bahrain’s pro-innovation environment and forward-looking regulatory framework.

This milestone opportunity fully coincides with Bahrain’s Economic Recovery Plan, which prioritizes digitisation across the financial services sector, and the formation of these types of institutions is crucial to further enhance the existing digital assets industry.

Finally Bahrain’s solid reputation in the financial services sector, transparent regulatory framework, and ongoing commitment to collaborate and innovate impressed us,” added Shawn Chan, group CEO of the Whampoa Group.

ila Bank brings new Islamic banking to Bahrain
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