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Officials at the event

Bank ABC launches mobile-only bank ‘ila’

MANAMA, November 25, 2019

Bank ABC, a leading player in the Middle East and North Africa’s (Mena) banking industry, has launched ‘ila Bank’ – entering into the digital, mobile-only banking space, beginning with Bahrain with a roadmap to take it across the Mena region.

The launch event took place yesterday (November 24) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Bahrain with government and Central Bank dignitaries, business community leaders along with ila and Bank ABC staff in attendance.   

Ila reflects Bank ABC’s commitment to drive the financial services sector to the next frontier, combining technology with a human-centric design to redefine banking for the next generation, said bank officials.

Arabic for the word ‘to’, ila promises to propel its users from where they are, “to” where they want to be, enabling their long-and-short-term goals and aspirations though an extremely personalised approach to banking and financial management, aided by cutting-edge technology and sophisticated data analytics, it added.

Dr Khaled Kawan, Group CEO of Bank ABC, said: “At our bank, we see change as an opportunity – to become more relevant to our customers and to evolve and to grow with them.”

“This is an exciting time not just for us, but also for the country. Digital transformation presents a huge opportunity to drive lasting positive change throughout the kingdom, something that Bank ABC is proud to be leading,” he said.

“As opposed to traditional banks, ila has been conceived and built differently from the ground up, keeping the customers and their rapidly evolving needs at its core: ila is agile, connected and intuitive,” he added.

Speaking at the event, Bank ABC deputy group CEO Sael Al Waary, said: “Everyone has ambitions and aspirations. At Bank ABC, our ambition is to create a seamless banking experience that is attuned to our customer’s lifestyles. Less than two years ago, we promised to transform banking, and here we are delivering on our promise.”

“Banking as it stands today is not able to keep up with the increasingly fast paced and connected lifestyles, as illustrated by a vox-pop video shot across Bahrain. The need to visit a branch to open an account to convenient transfers across the world and easy saving plans for long and short-term goals, all of these services, although available in some form, are not meeting the changing needs of today’s customers,” he said.

“We recognise that the customers of today are not the same as customers of tomorrow. They expect faster service, they are better connected and always online. So, we made it our mission and our challenge to create a bank that mirrors their lives,” he added.

Al Waary continued: “ila is designed to listen to our customers, study their lifestyles and priorities, and offer them an intuitive banking support that is completely attuned with their financial needs, something that is also deftly conveyed by our brand promise, ‘Banking that reflects you’.”

Ila’s initial offering includes:
• Completely digital onboarding within minutes with just two forms of ID and a selfie.
• Users are issued a Virtual debit card as soon as they onboard for immediate use for online transactions.
• Flexible funding options including in-app integration with the country’s leading payment channel.
• Multiple foreign currency accounts that can be linked to a single card. Users can transfer funds between these accounts without the worry of excessive fees.
• A current account that encourages people to save more by rewarding them with a higher interest rate on higher balance, which will be calculated daily and paid monthly.
• In-app full card control features, including set/reset pin, freeze/unfreeze a misplaced card, block and instantly reorder in the case of lost or stolen cards
• Digital DNATM Customer Assistant Fatema, who will be available across social media to keep people and community informed about ila and will be able to answer customer questions through ila’s website 24/7.

Al Waary said: “This is the beginning of the journey, and as we gather more insights about our customers, ila will evolve as well, giving users the chance to co-create future features. With ila we aim to offer lifestyle banking that caters to your everyday life needs from the moment you wake up till you go to sleep.”

The new organisation has created jobs and internships opportunities for young Bahraini professionals, with over 80 per cent of ila employees are Bahraini and 84 per cent are under 40 years old. Furthermore, the mobile-banking app is positioned to promote financial inclusion in the Mena region, something that Bank ABC is extremely passionate about, with the lowest required income threshold to open an account in Bahrain.

The ila Bank app is available for download on Google Play and Apple App store. Prospective customers will be able to join the waitlist and be the first to gain early access and experience the newest bank on the island, it stated. – TradeArabia News Service




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