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    CBB Launches Fintech Platform and Open Banking Framework in Bahrain

    October 28, 2020

    CBB, in cooperation with the Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bank ABC, ila Bank, BENEFIT, NBB, and Bahrain Islamic Bank, announced the launch of FinHub 973, the first comprehensive digital fintech lab in the region, regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The new platform will aim to create a collaborative ecosystem in the fintech sector by establishing a gateway for investment opportunities in the region, while fostering innovation and supporting integration between financial institutions and fintech startups. Additionally, CBB launched the Bahrain Open Banking Framework to ensure holistic implementation of open banking services by the industry.

    FinHub 973 will be powered by Fintech Galaxy’s FinX22 platform, which is a cloud-based open innovation platform that complies with the best international technical standards. The FinX22 platform will offer an open banking Application Programming Interface (API) sandbox that enables fintech startups to develop, test, and deploy fintech solutions. FinHub 973 will aim to connect financial institutions in Bahrain and the region to fintech firms worldwide. The digital lab will also offer matchmaking and crowdsourcing capabilities, which will help contribute to the design of effective fintech solutions, ultimately spurring disruptive and transformative innovation across the financial services industry.

    Bahrain Open Banking Framework includes detailed operational guidelines, security standards, customer experience guidelines, technical open Application Programming Interface (API) specifications, and the overall governance framework needed to protect customer data. These standards follow the comprehensive rules on open banking that were previously issued in December 2018. The framework was developed in collaboration with Deloitte and in consultation with the retail banks and other financial institutions in Bahrain.

    Additionally, the Board of Directors of CBB met for the fourth time this year in October 2020. At the meeting, the Board reviewed the topics on the agenda, including the CBB performance report and the latest developments in the financial sector for the third quarter of 2020. The Board was briefed on the measures taken by CBB based on the royal directives from the Cabinet meeting, which was held on September 14, 2020 and wherein all banks were to defer loan payments until the end of the year in a manner that does not affect the liquidity and financial solvency of banks. The Board also viewed presentations prepared by consultants appointed by the CBB on digital transformation in the financial sector and open banking.

     

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    Keywords: Middle East and Africa, Bahrain, Banking, Fintech, API, Artificial Intelligence, FinHub 973, Open Banking, Governance, COVID-19, Loan Repayment, CBB

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