Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain

Bahrain leverages technology to build on its strong foundations in regional banking

1 April 2019

In an interview with Global Platform, Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain, describes the foundation of Bahrain’s leadership in regional banking, as well as an array of public regulatory reforms and private entrepreneurship intended to build on the domestic sector’s historical advantages. The bank itself is currently working to leverage opportunities in digitisation, cloud services – in partnership with Amazon Web Services, which recently opened a regional office in Bahrain – fintech and infrastructure investment, in an effort to further enmesh Bahrain within the global banking system. 

Transcript:

Bahrain has been the hub for the banking industry in the Middle East for the past 50 years. Bahrain has kept its prominence thanks to several advantages. Obviously it is very well located – you know, the gateway to Saudi Arabia. Over the years, Bahrain has built a strong reputation in terms of regulations, innovations and, very importantly, the financial workforce is really one of the best in the region. So, all these factors have kept Bahrain in the leading position in the banking industry. The banking industry is changing. It is changing in terms of regulations, it is changing in terms of technology, it is changing in terms of the appetites of our clients. 

So, to remain a leader, we need to adapt. Bahrain should position itself as a centre for excellence in fintech, in new technological products for the banking industry. Certain initiatives have been launched by the government, by the EDB (Economic Development Board), and you can see today that every bank you meet in Bahrain wants to improve digitisation processes, the touch points for the clients, the product and so on. Regulations have been moving and becoming more stringent over the past few years. And the quality of the regulatory authorities is key, and Bahrain in this area has been a leader and remains a leader. 

Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain

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