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    CBB Proposes to Align Rulebook Modules With Open Banking Framework

    April 28, 2021

    CBB proposed amendments to certain modules of the Rulebook Volume 1 for conventional banks, Volume 2 for Islamic banks, and Volume 5 for specialized licensees. The proposed amendments are intended to align the rules with the Bahrain Open Banking Framework, which was launched in November 2020. For conventional and Islamic bank Rulebooks, CBB proposed to amend modules on licensing, general, and reporting requirements and notes that conventional and Islamic retail banks must report statistics on the availability and performance of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) on a monthly basis, as per the Open Banking Framework. The reports must be submitted within five working days of a month-end. CBB also proposed amendments to glossary and modules on authorization, open banking, and general requirements for ancillary service providers under the Rulebook Volume for specialized licensees. The comment period on these proposals ends on May 26, 2021.

    In another announcement, CBB launched a series of nation-wide fintech innovation challenges, called the Bahrain Supernova. The challenges will be hosted on FinHub 973, which is the Digital Lab of CBB and is powered by the Fintech Galaxy’s FinX22 Open API platform. Innovators and fintech start-ups will have access to an API sandbox with +330 APIs and simulated data sets from local and regional banks to enable rapid and seamless proof of concepts. Innovative startups and tech firms will be able to submit their proposals via the FinHub 973 digital platform, addressing problem statements under the following themes:

    • CBB Regtech Solution—Account Blocking & Unblocking Automation Process. Financial Institutions are looking for a solution that automates the identification of the accounts to be blocked/unblocked, automates alerts the licensee if there are accounts that need to be blocked/unblocked, and automates the actioning and associated reports of such actioning of the orders.
    • Bank ABC—Autonomous Finance. A key challenge for banks is verifying that the documents received from clients are certified as original by an authorized official of the bank. To address this, Bank ABC is looking for a cost-effective solution that can automate this task using cognitive AI and other techniques. The authentication tool would need to work across jurisdictions as Bank ABC operates internationally.
    • The BENEFIT Company—Extending Payment Services for Proximity/Wearables Devices. An applicable proof of concept of wearable payment devices (e.g. smart watches, fitness trackers, payment wristbands, etc.) that could be integrated with one of BENEFIT’s payment offerings. The proof of concept should be applicable for Bahrain market.
    • ila Bank—Banking, User Experience, and Artificial Intelligence. The solution should enable the banks channel to present the appropriate and personalized experience based on the user’s financial activity and goals. The solution should nudge the customer when s/he is deviating from their financial goals. The solution should be done in a way that is easy to integrate (plug and play) in form of SDK especially for channels such as mobile apps. Data processing and analysis should be done “as service.” 
    • NBB—Connecting Customer Accounting system with NBB for Banking needs. A cloud-based, cost-efficient, secure, and easy to implement host-to-host integration solution, which would directly connect client accounting/enterprise resource planning system with the banking system. This would help automation, faster reconciliation, and quicker processing of payments and other requests.

    Following the submission deadline on May 20, 2021, proposals meeting the requirements will be shortlisted and innovators will be invited to pitch their solutions to a panel of experts. A judging panel of executives from financial institutions, along with the subject-matter experts, will then announce finalists on June 03, 2021 and the challenge will end on June 10, 2021.


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    Comment Due Date: May 26, 2021

    Keywords: Middle East and Africa, Bahrain, Banking, Open Banking, CBB Rulebook, Islamic Banking, Fintech, API, Regtech, Reporting, FinHub 973, Artificial Intelligence, CBB

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