NBB announces Open Banking partnership

Joe McGrath |

The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) is continuing efforts to support the region’s Open Banking agenda, signing up as StartUp Bahrain’s newest strategic partner.

The bank said it aims to lead the financial sector’s support in growing the Open Banking and startup ecosystem under its #TeamBahrain initiative.

NBB was the first bank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to launch Open Banking solutions through its partnership with the Bahraini startup Tarabut Gateway.

Tarabut’s technologies allow NBB’s customers to connect their account to any bank in Bahrain and create a consolidated view of their finances from NBB’s online and mobile banking application.

In November 2018, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) introduced regulation that mandated the adoption of Open Banking by all banks in the Kingdom by June 2019.

“As the National Bank of Bahrain, we recognise the importance of supporting initiatives that promote the growth and development of the Kingdom’s startup ecosystem,” Arif Janahi, head of commercial and SMEs at NBB, said in a media statement.

“Through our partnership with StartUp Bahrain, we look forward to stepping into the next wave of innovation and contributing towards the Kingdom’s national efforts to progress as a digital economy.”

Pakiza Abdulrahman, head of startups at the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), added that NBB’s “trailblazing” approach to Open Banking shows how traditional financial institutions can collaborate with startups to adapt and thrive in the modern digital economy.

However, Abdulrahman added digital transformation is a two-way street.

“This new partnership with Startup Bahrain will be an opportunity for young challengers and disruptors to learn from one of Bahrain’s most established financial institutions,” he said.

“It is collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships like this that Bahrain’s thriving, world-class startup ecosystem is founded upon,” Abdulrahman explained.

Founded in 2017, StartUp Bahrain aims to help grow the startup network in collaboration with corporates, investors, accelerators, incubators, educational institutions, and the Bahrain government.

Speaking on its partnership with NBB, Bader Kamal, a representative of StartUp Bahrain, said: “We are excited to see how Bahrain’s largest financial institution will play a major role in the development and support of the ecosystem’s startups, events, happenings, and strategic opportunities.

“Bahrain’s digital economy is developed through the efforts of all its public and private stakeholders, and we are proud to have the National Bank of Bahrain become one of our strategic partners in making that happen.”