Dialling up Speed, Growth, efficiency in Lending

In common with other industries, banking customers are increasingly making mobile their preferred mode of banking. According to EY’s GCC Digital Banking Report, the future of retail banking in the Gulf countries is a smartphone experience that delights and up to 64% of GCC customers would feel comfortable switching to a digital-first bank, with less reliance on branch network. In their Mobile banking report, KPMG states that mobile is already the largest banking channel for the majority of global banks by volume of transactions and by 2019, the number of mobile banking users is expected to double, reaching 1.8 billion people.

Innovative, useful and customer-centric mobile services will be key criteria when consumers choose their banking partner and banks must leverage the power of mobile in lending. Go through this infographic on “Dialling up speed, growth and efficiency in Lending” to know about the key market trends in mobile based lending, customer preferences and how lenders can transform their businesses to capitalize on the opportunity.

Nucleus Software will be showcasing its solutions at the upcoming Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2017 being held on 18-19 September at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.

NucleusSoftware_Lending Mobility Infographic

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5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit concludes successfully

Keynote session in progress at the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015

Keynote session in progress at the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015

Dubai, September 17, 2015: The two-day Middle East Banking Innovation Summit featuring 20+ presentations, over 30 speakers and more than 450 attendees came to a successful closure on Tuesday. The 5th edition of this summit reiterated its position as the leading platform in the Middle East region for the bankers to engage in idea sharing on trends and technological innovations driving the industry. The summit commenced with premium sponsors Visa, Schneider Electric and IBM welcoming attendees to see the latest developments, develop new business opportunities and discuss pressing industry issues and challenges.

In tandem with the growing trend, Nilanjan Ray of NBAD’s opening address highlighted the growing need for banks and financial institutions to innovate and shared insights on the emerging payments landscape. Taking the discussion further on payments was Paul McCrea of Visa, who took the audience through the company’s strategy in developing innovative products and services. Placing a strong emphasis on innovation, he emphasized on how the payments industry has witnessed an unprecedented change with the introduction of new form factors.

Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead, Visa MENA, added, “Visa envisions a future where connected devices define the way people shop and pay, and that is what we have attempted to create with the connected car proof-of-concept, which was demonstrated at the Summit. In fact, we see a future where consumers can seamlessly make many of their everyday purchases from a ‘connected car’, such as petrol, parking, transit tolls, and drive-through purchases.”

Jonathan Duncan from Schneider Electric spoke on the data center infrastructure management and the benefits banks stand to gain from a connected infrastructure. On the other hand, IBM’s Naveed Minhas highlighted the importance of a digital studio and why banks need to leverage and deliver digital transformation.

The Day 1 panel discussion on Smart Payments Strategy was led by Amru Kotb of Cryptomathic and included inputs from industry experts Noor Bank’s Ehsaan Ahmed, Dubai Islamic Bank’s Dr. Haroun Dharsey and Gary Collins of Westpac Pacific.

Ziad Youssef, Vice President of ITB, Gulf Countries, Schneider Electric said: “In this digitally-driven age, financial institutions are expected to securely storage critical, sensitive data, be available round the clock, and efficiently leverage IT to deliver quality customer service at the touch of a button. Effective management of complex IT systems is thus a crucial component to the overall functioning of such institutions. To address these needs, Schneider Electric was happy to present our suite of datacenter solutions to the regional banking industry. The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit (MEBIS) 2015 was an excellent platform to highlight our value-add, and share hardware and software innovations which can develop enterprise in a strategic way.”

Westpac Pacific’s Gary Collins during his session elaborated on the need to innovate and design mass market product and payments in developing markets. Kartik Taneja of Standard Chartered Bank, explained the changing landscape and trends in the payments industry, supported with statistics and two noteworthy case studies on mobile wallets. Sessions on day 1 included speakers from Sestek, Collinson Group, Appello, Intellect Design Arena, CSC, Backbase and Entera as well.

Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD kicked off Day 2 Summit with an extremely interesting session on addressing UAE’s success in digital payments. Apart from sharing remarkable insights on the payments industry in the UAE, he also launched the bank’s first social media banking product at the Summit. Called Social Banking, this service allows Emirates NBD customers to access their account and make transactions using Twitter’s direct mail service.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “We are thrilled by the response we have received from our sponsors and delegates and would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for their support. In its fifth year now, the summit has grown tremendously in size and relevance. Over the course of two days, the summit covered pertinent industry topics, addressed emerging trends and provided a platform to showcase innovative offerings and solutions targeted to the banking sector.”

This year’s edition of the summit also featured an Innovation Lounge that provided 40+ sponsors and partners an opportunity to present their technological solutions. Additionally, the summit also offered two days of unrivalled networking opportunities that proved to be extremely valuable to the attendees.

Haadi Raad of Visa, Spinney’s Paresh Buch; Emirates NBD’s R. Sivaram and Sameer Soliman of Network International participated in a panel discussion on how digital payments is displacing cash in the real and virtual world. The panel discussion enabled an in-depth conversation and gave delegates valuable insights on the payments industry.

Day 2 sessions included speakers from Comarch, Infrasoft Technologies, Oberthur Technologies, IMTF group and SAS speaking on boosting customer engagement with wearables and beacons; banking in the digital world; fighting e-commerce fraud; transforming compliance burdens into business benefits with digital onboarding and addressing customer’s unspoken needs.

The event was appreciated by attendees, with senior delegates commenting favorably at its close. Renee Tannous Loca, Vice President – Strategic Planning, First Gulf Bank, said, “The summit showcased interesting content from great presenters. The panel discussions showed how groups can work together effectively. It has been a fantastic networking experience.”

“A very well-organized and efficiently run event. The summit had a range of informative speakers from a cross-section of banking and technology sectors.” said, Mr. Andrew Baxter, Managing Director – Global Markets e-commerce, NBAD.

Mr. Anand Narayanan, Head – Demand Management and Project Delivery, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank said, “The participation was impressive. It was nice to see an innovation element demonstrated by most of the technology service providers. I look forward to this event next year as well.”

The Summit came to a close with a lucky draw that saw four winners take home exciting prizes ranging from a set of Sennheiser headphones, a priority pass offering access to 700 airport lounges across the word, an iPad and a 2 nights’ stay at Sofitel, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai.

2015 & beyond: How Visa is driving the future of payments

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa), describes how Visa is breaking new grounds with its vision to keep consumers connected in a global village by constantly developing and innovating fast and simple ways for everyone, everywhere, to be pay and be paid easily and securely.

Imagine being stuck in traffic after work, and hungry, wondering how long it will be before you can get home and prepare dinner. Familiar? Now what if the car you were driving allowed you to order your dinner – and pay for it – AND notify the store to keep your food ready for when you whizz by. Sounds like something in the future? Not quite. What you just read is the Connected Car commerce experience that Visa, in conjunction with Pizza Hut and Accenture, unveiled at the World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona earlier this year. Led by Visa, the “Connected Car commerce experience” combines cutting-edge payment security and payment convenience with mobile and wireless technologies that turn an ordinary vehicle into a frictionless mobile payment machine.

For those of you who attended the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit in Dubai this September, you would’ve experienced the Connected Car for yourselves.

While the connected car concept is based on being able to order food on the move from a fast food restaurant, Visa Checkout – one of the components of the connected car concept – can work in many other every-day situations such as fuel, parking and vending machines.

Visa’s commitment to innovation is driven by the need to uphold Visa’s vision of building digital acceptance structures globally. With the expansion of eCommerce and new technologies, consumers want convenience and security when purchasing their goods. Visa Checkout – a recent Visa innovation – does just that.

Visa Checkout is a quick and easy payment service to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks. Since its launch in the US in July this year, response has been exceptionally positive.

We polled people who had actually used Visa Checkout and 95% of them felt it was very easy to transact with it and 96% felt it was very secure[1].

Visa Checkout is 22% faster than a traditional online checkout process. We believe because of the ease and convenience, conversion rates from customers who browsed to those who bought those items are 66% higher than when they use traditional payment methods. Coupled with the fact that an average Visa Checkout average transaction size is 7% higher, these all point to how people will use a technology that makes sense to their needs and which in turn increases online and mobile sales for merchants.

We recently launched Visa Checkout in both the UAE and South Africa, and apart from our other global markets, there are plans to roll out the service to seven additional markets within the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region in 2016. More issuers around the world are also offering Visa Checkout. In the UAE, for example, Mashreq, Emirates NBD, Majid Al Futtaim Finance, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Emirates Islamic Bank are all offering Visa Checkout to their cardholders to enable fast, secure online shopping from anywhere.

While Visa Checkout is making strides in new markets, another of our new innovations – Visa’s Token Service – is fast becoming a global standard for enabling digital experiences. Launched in September last year, the Visa Token Service aims to keep online and mobile payments safe and seamless. Tokenization replaces sensitive payment account information (such as the 16-digits found on plastic cards) with a digital account number or token. Allocating a token or unique code to an online or mobile payment reduces the risk of fraud because the technology in its simplest terms does not allow sensitive data to pass through Visa’s secure network.

Partnering with device players is critical to enable simple payment experiences. Visa’s Token Service underpins Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – neither of these two innovations would be what they are without tokenization. It’s the finest example of security by design.

In addition, Visa Token Service makes it simpler for issuer banks to launch their own mobile payment service. We’re excited about the potential of Visa Token Service powering digital payment experiences, and have already started supporting our partners in CEMEA, starting in the UAE, in their tokenization journey. Through our work with several issuing banks across the region, consumers will be able to use their mobile devices securely and conveniently for in-store payments, whether through their bank’s own mobile apps or eventually third party wallets.

More recently, we announced Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP), which builds on our secure Visa Token Service technology and adds a turn-key, toll-free commercial framework. The program connects Visa issuing banks to current and future digital wallet providers without the need to directly contract with a multitude of different vendors.

Through VDEP, financial institutions, merchants and technology companies can drive growth through a simple, scalable commercial construct with no pass-through fees between technology partners and financial institutions. Google, with its Android Pay payment solution, is Visa’s first international program partner in VDEP.

In August, Samsung also joined VDEP. By joining this program, Samsung will be able to ensure financial institutions can offer Samsung Pay in a convenient and scalable manner, which will ultimately help accelerate the availability of Samsung Pay for consumers around the world.

Visa transactions initiated from a consumer device using Android Pay or Samsung Pay will work at any merchant that accepts Visa payWave contactless payments. Issuers will need to sign the VDEP Agreement to use the Visa Token Service to participate in Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and other third-party solutions as they become available, or to enable their own issuer-branded mobile payment apps.

With the expansion of Visa’s Digital Solutions, where does that leave the humble credit card? Could plastic be facing extinction? While the Visa Token Service and Visa Digital Enablement Program are paving the way for electronic payments, many consumers to date still rely on plastic for in-store payments.

While plastic cards are still the main way people transact electronically, the humble plastic card has also evolved. In-store payments are changing with the greater acceptance of contactless payments. Our research indicates that Visa payWave contactless technology is 60% faster than chip signatures and 42% than using a PIN[2]. Contactless payments are growing at triple digital rates in several CEMEA markets, and popularity is growing. For example, Visa payWave already represents 20 percent of transactions in Georgia.

Visa is striving to find the balance between scalability and simplicity. As part of our commitment to innovation, Visa is constantly analysing the market to create products and services that meet the changing needs of consumers. At the same time, however, innovation is not about being bigger and better than our competitors but about continually making the payment journey simple and safe for our customers. Creating a product that adds value to a customer’s life is what dictates how we innovate at Visa.

[1] Millward Brown Visa Checkout Customer Experience, March, 2015; commissioned by Visa. Based on data from an online survey of 1,241 U.S. consumers.

[2] Study by The Leading Edge, commissioned by Visa and conducted in 2010 in the Metropolitan Sydney area, Australia.

5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit Starts Tomorrow

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, September 13, 2015: The stage is set for the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015, the largest banking technology summit in the region, with Visa as the Title sponsor. The summit draws together the who’s who of this industry for intense discussions on ideas, trends and innovations that is driving the Middle East region’s banking industry. Over 450 participants from across the GCC are expected to attend the two-day summit that is set to begin tomorrow at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa in Dubai. With the core agenda to discuss and influence the growth of the banking technology landscape in the region, the summit will bring together global perspectives that will shape the industry.

The day 1 session of the summit will begin with Mr. Nilanjan Ray, Managing Director – Global Consumer Banking, NBAD’s address on Trending Themes on Innovation: Where do Banks Stand?, that will be followed by a series of sessions and a panel discussion on Smart Payments Strategy that will involve Amru Kotb, Senior Vice President – MEA, Cryptomathic; Dr. Haroun Dharsey, SVP- Head of Technology & Projects, Dubai Islamic Bank; Ehsaan Ahmed, Head of GTS and Corporate Strategy, Noor Bank; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific and Jassim Al Tamimi, Head of Payment Solutions & Business Innovation, Commercial Bank of Dubai.

The day 2 session begins with Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD focusing on UAE’s Success in Digital Payments. The panel discussion, sponsored by Visa will focus on Today’s Smart City: How Digital Payment is Displacing Cash in the Real and Virtual World, involving panelists Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Payments & Innovation for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Paresh Buch, Regional Finance Manager, Spinney’s; R. Sivaram, SVP – Head of Retail Assets and Cards Business, Emirates NBD and Samer Soliman, Executive Vice President – Product and Innovation, Network International.

Over the course of the two days, the Summit will feature more than 30 key banking and technology influencers, including top names such as Paul McCrea, Vice President, Head of Products, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Jonathan Duncan, ITB MEA Director for Integrated Solutions & Data Center Applications, Schneider Electric; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific; Naveed Minhas, Banking Industry Leader MEA and Turkey, Global Business Services, IBM; Amol Shah, Head of Bancasurrance Products, Consumer Banking Group – FGB and Kartik Taneja, Global Head – Credit Cards, Standard Chartered Bank, to name a few.

The Summit is supported by more than 40 sponsors who will showcase their product innovations and solutions at the Innovation Lounge, making it a hub to collaborate with industry peers and connect with other like-minded people in the industry.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

Exploring GCC’s Banking Growth Opportunities at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, September 8, 2015: The 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015 is one of the region’s largest banking technology summit, which is all set to take place next week in Dubai. The summit has been boosted by Visa as a Title Sponsor. Featuring some of the most influential and notable minds in the banking and technology industries globally, the summit will explore how the region is leading the evolution of banking. In all, over 450 delegates will be gathered on 14 -15 September 2015 to identify opportunities, develop strategies and learn how to tackle the challenges in this domain.

Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead Visa MENA, said, “The financial system is at an interesting crossroads today, as traditional banking is expanding across multiple levels of engagement. At Visa, we understand that innovation is at the core of this evolution, which is why we are focused on providing our financial clients with the tools to understand and adopt new technologies that enable innovation and a progressive banking environment. We are pleased to partner with the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit this year and look forward to gaining and sharing insights into how the banking sector can navigate through these changes and further our goals for advancing groundbreaking innovation in the industry.”

An eclectic mix of topics pertinent to the banking industry are in the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit’s session line up this year. Over the course of two days, the summit will feature presentations and panel discussions from over 30 industry experts who will focus on some of the latest technological innovations that is set to revolutionize the banking industry and will offer a perspective on the trends and developments witnessed in this industry. The summit also presents two interactive discussions by a panel of experts on the future of the payments industry.

Ahead of the Summit, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “The Middle East banking industry is evolving tremendously and in the face of such transformation, our summit will be a platform for regional and international heavyweights to address challenges and showcase the latest innovations that will boost the banking industry in the region.

In addition to Schneider Electric and IBM as Diamond and Platinum sponsor respectively, the summit has more than 40 sponsors and exhibitors who will be showcasing a range of innovative solutions designed to help the banking industry and significantly improve efficiencies at the Innovation Lounge.

Ziad Youssef, IT Business VP – UAE, Gulf Countries, Schneider Electric, said,One of our focus areas is to build a strong network in the banking sector and we believe that for Schneider Electric, a company committed to developing sustainable energy management solutions, this forum is the perfect opportunity for us to share our knowledge, product offering and solutions. Today, every organization no matter how well established, is searching for better ways of optimizing their resources and how they can transform their Data Centre infrastructure to a more smart, responsive infrastructure – one that they can relate to, communicate with and grow with minimal expenditure. As Schneider Electric, we propose not to alter an organization’s entire Data Centers, but to provide extremely convenient solutions that boost productivity and reduce operating, capital and maintenance expenditures over a period of time.”

The summit hopes to accomplish how technology has played an instrumental role in changing the banking landscape in the region.

Mr. Naveed Minhas, Banking Industry Leader MEA and Turkey, Global Business Services, IBM opined, “As we know it, banking is at the tip of a digital disruption and transformation. Digital has the potential to create value and if not done well, even destroy value. How does a bank embrace digital in a manner that maximises value and deliver meaningful customer experiences? I am looking forward to meeting the attendees at the conference, listening to their challenges and sharing our point of view on how a Digital studio can address the region’s Digital Banking agenda.”

Global conference producers, Expotrade organize the two-day Middle East Banking Innovation Summit that will be held on 14th and 15th September 2015 at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

GCC BANKERS GEAR UP TO DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF BANKING TECHNOLOGY IN DUBAI

Keynote speech in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Keynote speech in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, August 31, 2015: Over 450 GCC bankers will come together next month at one of the region’s largest banking technology and innovation event – the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit, that will take place on 14th and 15th September 2015 at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai. Banking is one of the fastest growing industries in the Middle East. With innovation as the focal point, banks are reinventing themselves and investing heavily in technology to deliver new-age banking solutions to consumers. The region’s banking and financial services sector is well poised for an overhaul. With over 40 sponsors and more than 30 top local and international industry experts providing insights into the banking innovation sector, this Summit will be even bigger than the previous years.

Talking about the partnership, Mr. Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead at VISA Inc. MENA, said: “Innovation is what keeps industries thriving, which is why events like the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit are vital for our sectors and their evolution. In a time when cities are getting smarter and the population becomes more technologically adept, banks and payment providers must stay updated on digital trends and developments in order to achieve success. Visa’s participation in this event shows our commitment to our financial partners and dedication to delivering secure payments built on cutting-edge technology.”

The summit will feature more than 20 keynote sessions and panel discussions on pressing issues and trends pertaining to the banking technology domain globally as well as in the Middle East, and will involve experts Gary Collins, Head – Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific; Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE & Global Accounts Lead, Visa; Paolo Barbesino, Senior VP, Head of Digital – CEE Retail, UniCredit Bank Austria AG; Kartik Taneja, Global Head – Credit Cards, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore; Warren Cammack, Head of Innovation, Vietnam International Bank and Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD amongst many others. Moreover, a powerful line up of speakers from local banks including Noor Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank will dive deeply into topics to share best practices and lessons-learned.

This summit agenda will cover forward-thinking topics that have been tailored to the interests of the participants and are pertinent to the region. Ranging from payments and innovation in developing markets to capitalizing on the social media revolution; from the future of cashless transactions in the Middle East to transforming compliance burdens into business benefits, the summit will offer attendees a wholesome view of the banking industry.

Emphasizing on the scale and magnitude of the summit, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “Our Middle East Banking Innovation summit is one of the most popular events in this region. The previous four editions of the summit received a tremendous feedback from our sponsors and participants and this year the event has been planned on a much bigger scale. The summit promises to deliver high business value and provide actionable insights. With the quality and the number of participants partaking in the summit, we are extremely confident of it becoming a resounding success this year as well.”

The premium sponsoring companies such as Visa, Schneider Electric, IBM, Sestek, Oberthur Technologies, IMTF, CSC, Backbase, InfrasoftTech, Comarch, Entera, intellect, Collinson group, Cryptomathic, Appello will showcase some exciting solutions at the Innovation Lounge. Additionally, experts from these organizations will engage in a 20-minute session to share lessons learned that will help propel the industry forward.

Included within the Summit’s delegation list are over 450 representatives from leading banks in the Middle East region, such as Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC Bank Middle East, Union National Bank, Mashreq Bank, Emirates NBD, ICICI Bank, First Gulf Bank, Deutsche Bank, RAK Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Barclays Bank and Doha Bank, to name a few.

The 5th annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit spread over the course of two days provides a gamut of opportunities for speakers and delegates to connect in an interactive manner, engage in cross learning and discuss business opportunities and challenges.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

How are Banks in the UAE responding to Cyber-Attacks?

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Here in the UAE alone, with a population of just about 10 million people, we already have 23 local and 28 foreign (international) banks operating in the country and the banking industry does get really competitive. The country as a whole is often seen as ‘overbanked’ and as one would imagine – having over 50 banks that in turn have a network of around 1,200 branches, ought to be enough to service the most discerning customers. But according to a study conducted earlier this year (the first Brave Index), customer service standards overall at banks are still below the global service delivery benchmarks and work is being done to ensure that there is steady improvement.

Innovation is key when it comes to the world of banking and in a bid to offer consumers an enriching experience; UAE banks are adopting new strategies to introduce tailored products and services. In fact, just a couple of days ago the Commercial Bank of Dubai has offered its customers a mobile application that allows their ‘fitness-conscious customers’ to earn higher interest rates on their savings based on the number of steps taken in a day calculated by their Fitbit or Jawbone fitness devices.

Technology really has spurred a massive growth of services offered by banks in the UAE which are really convenient to use and while we have Apple Pay or the recently launched Samsung Pay – the Emirates National Bank of Dubai (ENBD) became the front-runner last year with their launch of mobile money transfer via the ‘mePay’ app.

At the moment in the UAE, online banking is still the most dominant approach when it comes to companies trying to manage their accounts or even individuals trying to pay their utility bills but the penetration of mobile internet in the UAE and the fact that telecom operators like Etisalat and Du have made it more affordable for users to take up packages that include mobile data has increased the popularity of mobile applications and paved the way for mobile banking in the country.

While there has been a tremendous growth in the adoption of technology by the banking and financial services sector – the growth is intrinsically linked with major concerns and threats of cybercrime. According to the UAE’s National Electronic Security Authority (NESA), cyber security is one of the biggest economic and national security challenges facing countries worldwide in the 21st century. The most common cyber security threats that we have seen in the UAE include phishing emails, spyware, data theft, web application exploits and website defacement which has prompted the government to put plans in action to stop these hackers from reaching our electronic borders.

The threats of cyber-attacks are very real and just last month, several banks in the UAE were hit by a coordinated cyber attack, which severely affected online operations and left some of us in the UAE with fraudulent transactions on our credit cards and bank accounts which took a while to get corrected. In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of online security breaches in the Middle East and cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated – rightly so, a new research indicates that banks and securities companies in the Middle East are posed to spend USD 12.9 billion on upgrading their IT products, services and infrastructure.

For the banking sector in the UAE, risks associated with cyber security have not allowed for complete adoption of the technology available globally and this in turn means that local banks have been unable to reach their full potential yet. Instead, an industry report indicates that banks are investing heavily to build their defenses and bolster their IT infrastructure to prevent unprecedented cyber attacks. The report also highlights a future growth rate of 17% for the IT Security Services industry in the UAE with an overall value of AED 1.7 billion (USD 473 million) in 2018 alone.

In order to actively combat cyber-crime and cyber-attacks in the banking industry, it is important for the industry to gather and discuss pertinent issues so that best practices and experiences can be shared. And in the next three weeks, Dubai will once again host the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit on the 14th & 15th of September 2015 at Sofitel The Palm Resort & Spa. This will be an ideal opportunity for industry professionals to listen to experts and to check out the latest technology offerings for the industry setup as part of the ‘Banking Innovation Lounge’ at the event.

Feel free to follow the link and find more information about the event and view the conference agenda – http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

– Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East