To mark the International Day of Banks, the Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) hosted an open gathering, graced by the presence of H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, alongside various leaders from the Kingdom of Bahrain’s banking and financial sector.
During this event, BAB introduced the “Digital Transformation in the Banking Sector” award, designed for all banks and financial institutions, which aims to incentivize the adoption of digital transformation within the banking sector, spotlighting noteworthy initiatives that embrace optimal practices, policies, and strategies. The overarching goal is to expedite digital transformation processes in alignment with contemporary financial technology and contribute to the advancement of digital economic progress.
“We are delighted that the International Day of Banks serves as an opportunity to engage with leaders of financial and banking institutions. It allows for discussions on visions and perspectives concerning the continued enhancement of the financial governance sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and encourages the adoption and localization of the best international experiences and practices within the banking industry. This includes exploring growth opportunities and staying abreast of recent trends related to environmental, social, and governance practices, open banking, financial technology, and other pertinent areas.” said H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj in speech during the event.
H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj acknowledged the endeavors undertaken by the Bahrain Association of Banks as part of the Financial Services Sector Development Strategy 2022-2026. He emphasized the significance of the “Digital Transformation in the Banking Sector” award, highlighting its role in motivating diverse financial and banking institutions to embrace innovation and digital transformation within the financial services sector of the Kingdom of Bahrain. This encouragement aims to ensure that these institutions remain in step with the latest global developments relevant to their industry.
Mr. Adnan Yousif, the Chairman of the Bahrain Association of Banks, emphasized that International Day of Banks is a crucial annual milestone that serves as a moment to celebrate a banking journey marked by notable achievements, positioning the Kingdom among the foremost global banking and financial centers. Notably, this journey has contributed significantly to sustainable development and economic diversification in the Kingdom since its early stages, creating a substantial workforce of highly qualified individuals. Today, the banking industry stands as the primary contributor to the GDP, accounting for 17%, and has become the leading employer for Bahrainis in the private sector, providing over 14,000 jobs.
Furthermore, Mr. Adnan highlighted the myriad initiatives undertaken by the Bahrain Association of Banks in 2023 that involved collaborating with banking and financial institutions to establish innovative training programs, surmounting obstacles to boost financing for SMEs, increasing banks’ contribution to major projects, bolstering the cybersecurity landscape, advancing open banking, and conducting public awareness campaigns on electronic fraud methods. Additionally, the association engaged with various ministries to discuss financing environmentally sustainable and clean energy projects. Collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs, and Endowments were directed towards enhancing the litigation and enforcement environment, including contributions to the implementation of the Dispute Resolution Center and discussions on laws related to execution, bankruptcy, and other pertinent legislation.
Dr. Waheed Al Qassim, CEO of the Bahrain Association of Banks, stated that aspirations are moving towards deeper integration into digital banking services, aiming to align with customers’ way of living. This integration is seen as a pivotal element for future growth, given the added values it brings to all stakeholders. He also emphasized the role played by the “Digital Transformation in the Banking Sector” award in realizing the Kingdom’s vision to evolve into a cashless society, foster financial inclusion, and create a supportive climate for the fintech industry.
Dr. Al Qassim further highlighted that the celebration of International Day of Banks focuses on the significant achievements of the banking and financial sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain. These accomplishments have elevated the sector to a prestigious international standing, underscoring the Kingdom’s noteworthy contribution to the development of the banking system in the region.
It’s noteworthy that the celebration of the “International Day of Banks” is an initiative launched by the Kingdom of Bahrain through the Bahrain Association of Banks in 2019. This initiative coincided with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the banking sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The United Nations General Assembly also adopted a resolution at that time, designating the fourth of December each year as the international day for banks.