Middle East banks put customers at center of innovation

Efma feature

16 April 2018

New report outlines how customer-centric operating models, partnerships with non-banking companies and digital innovations will help to transform retail banking in the Middle East.


Retail banks in the Middle East should move to customer-centric operating models, team up with non-banking partners and find ways to blend digital innovation with traditional banking services if they want to meet customer expectations, according to a new Efma report.

Efma’s Retail Banking in the Middle East: Fix the Digital! report outlines how these three strategies can help Middle Eastern banks to cater to the demands of every customer. This includes younger and more tech-savvy customers who want digital-only banks they can access via their smartphones, to those who prefer visiting traditional branches and interacting with humans.

According to the report, many of the major Middle East banks have already started their digital transformation, using mobile applications, biometrics, interactive payments, personalized ATM services, social media, virtual assistants and other technologies to put the customer at the centre of their digital transformation strategies.

Mashreq Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Emirates NBD, for example, have all launched mobile-only, branchless banks to give customers more flexibility in the way they manage their day-to-day financial needs. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Bank of Beirut has created a hybrid banking experience that combines digital and physical banking services, and Emirates NBD is using a voice recognition-enabled virtual assistant for phone banking. Elsewhere, United Bank Limited has introduced Pakistan’s first interoperable digital payment service with the help of Mastercard and the United Arab Emirates’ Standard Chartered Bank has implemented a tablet-based digital sales and service tool to reduce the time it takes to approve client applications for banking products.

“Banks in the Middle East are putting customers at the center of innovation as they move towards digital transformation,” said Vincent Bastid, CEO of Efma. “Across the region, adoption of digital technologies and platforms such as social media, combined with a youthful demographic, are driving new products, services and experiences for bank customers. In this dynamic marketplace, financial firms face multifaceted challenges and opportunities, from delivering on rapidly evolving customer expectations to discovering new possibilities through partnerships with fintechs, all in a rigorous regulatory landscape.”

Download the report

Keywords : Bank Products & Services , Business strategy/Model

Geography : United Arab Emirates , Kuwait , Saudi Arabia , Lebanon