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CBB’s FinHub 973 platform on course to transform Bahrain’s financial services sector

February 24, 2021
finance & economy

Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and the Strategic Partners of FinHub 973, Bahrain’s Digital Lab, had their first meeting of the year to lay out the roadmap for 2021, and to discuss the progress of FinHub973 since its launch in October 2020. The virtual meeting was chaired by Mr. Rasheed Mohammed AlMaraj, Governor of the CBB, and attended by the executive leadership of FinHub973’s Strategic Partners, Mr. Sael AlWaary, Deputy Group CEO at Bank ABC, Mr. Hassan Jarrar, CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank, Mr. Abdulwahed Janahi, CEO of the BENEFIT Company, Ms. Yasmeen AlSaffar, Financial Services Manager at the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Ms. Mirna Sleiman, Founder & CEO of Fintech Galaxy.

FinHub 973 is the MENA region’s first cross-border digital innovation platform that connects and facilitates collaboration between financial institutions and FinTechs under the supervision of the central bank. Powered by Fintech Galaxy, FinHub973 enables local and global FinTechs to connect seamlessly with Bahrain’s financial institutions to explore, test, and prototype new and innovative solutions on a centralized digital sandbox.

Meeting attendees were updated on the AI-powered FinTech Marketplace, where over 100 regional and global FinTechs have been onboarded since the platform’s go-live. Also on the agenda was the open API Sandbox, which will enable banks and other financial institutions in Bahrain to seamlessly integrate with FinTechs to support them on their digital transformation journeys. The technical sandbox is now fully operational with 150 apps connected and over 570K API calls made during the last quarter of 2020. In addition, the roadmap for digitization of the CBB’s end-to-end Regulatory Sandbox process via FinHub973 was discussed, with the MVP launch targeted for the second quarter of the year.

Each of the Strategic Partner banks presented the innovation challenges that they have conducted on FinHub973, as well as those that are currently in progress, expressing how the platform is boosting their internal and external innovation activities.

CBB and the Strategic Partners were briefed on a number of new features that will support the digitization of financial services in Bahrain; these services will be introduced on FinHub973 over the course of 2021.

Mr. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, thanked the Strategic Partners, Fintech Galaxy and the CBB team for their efforts on this initiative and their united vision for driving innovation and digital transformation across financial services in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Governor also emphasized CBB’s commitment to the mandate of FinHub973, which will drive financial institutions to deploy financial technology and adopt innovative solutions more rapidly, in turn accelerating digital transformation and economic growth.

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