Analysing the future of retail banking in ME

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RITIKA SHARMA / Emirates Business

Market disruption in financial sectors, branch transformation,enhanced user experience and digitalisation of banking services are some of the main challenges haunting Middle East retail bankers.
One of the key questions that remains unanswered about next generation of bank consumers in the region is — will it be mobile, online or branches?
This and many other are the topics to be addressed at the upcoming 11th edition of Middle East Retail Banking Forum & Expo to be held in Dubai on April 18 and 19.
As one of the region’s most established banking events, the expo will bring together hundreds of CEOs, CFOs, MDs & directors from the leading Regional and International Retail Banks to tackle the latest innovations and best offerings in financial services technology and to discuss the most sensitive issues surrounding the Retail Banking sectors in the Middle East and beyond.
Running alongside the forum will be a dedicated exhibition showcasing the latest technological products and services. More than 30 international exhibitors are participating at 11th edition of the event such as Misys, InfoSys, Backbase, Qlik, Sutherland Global, CRIF D&B, VASCO, ebankIT, Experian and Innofis to name a few, representing the best of what the industry has to offer.
When it comes to regional banks and their technological advancement in comparison to the rest of the world, Mujtaba Naqvi, General Manager — Senior Regional Chief at HBL, the largest bank in Pakistan, and one of the keynote speakers at the event, said, “With time, technology developers are now in a position to offer solutions which are somewhat packaged in different sizes according to the market size as well as capacity of the institutions and that’s the beauty of it. So today, just as large multinationals which have global footprint who could afford the best technology solutions, the regional and even the local players can embrace the best solutions.”
Hassan Abouzeid, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait’s Group Head of Digital Banking, said, “A large proportion of our customers want to bank anytime, anywhere and readily embrace new technologies. Surprisingly, this is not limited to the younger, digitally-native generations. A surprising proportion, of not-so-young customers, use our electronic channels. The branch will always have a role for building relationships, complex interactions, and tech-shy individuals, but the role of Digital is on a growth trajectory, in both scale and scope.”
He added, “I am also aware of some banks in the Region where the mobile app does more transactions than all the branches combined. With Banks, Customers and Regulators gradually gaining confidence in hi-tech banking, that trend is likely to continue. Middle Eastern customers are generally quite tech-savvy, bolstering the potential.”
This year’s forum will feature top industry minds and guru speakers from regional and international Banks such as Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, RAK Bank, Al Ahli Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Kuwait, Qatar National Bank, Samba Financial Group, Citi Bank and many more.
As part of the 11th edition of the Middle East Retail Banking Forum & Expo, a new initiative has been set up – The Fintech Disruption & Innovation Panel which is aimed at broader banking and Fintech audiences.
“There are so many new technologies being introduced to the market that are causing a massive digital disruption. Our aim at Retail Banking Forum and Expo is to promote a culture of innovation and have the greatest banking minds come together to address hot topics such as the ecosystem of digital banking, branch transformation, changes in customer behaviour, among many subjects. I am excited to see and hear what our speakers and exhibitors have to bring to the table”, said Alex Heuff, Exhibition Director.
“This year’s event is set to surpass all previous additions with more than 30 industry experts, covering over 25 sessions. We’re also expecting more than 1,000 attendees that are likely to walk through the doors over the 2 days of the event,” he concluded.
The 11th Middle East Retail Banking Forum and Expo is organised by Fleming and supported by Bahrain Association of Banks, Natural Security Alliance, PIF and Smart Payment

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