Al Baraka Islamic Bank launches open banking platform
Bahrain’s Al Baraka Islamic Bank has become one of the first Islamic banks to launch an open banking initiative, opening its doors to financial technology (FinTech) firms around the world.
The initiative involves Al Baraka offering over 25 APIs, allowing third-parties to build financial products and services on top of the bank’s Open Banking API marketplace.
“We are delighted to be the first bank in Bahrain to take this innovative approach as part of our Open Banking Strategy. Open banking is the future of banking globally, and as part of a global network, we have realised this opportunity,” said Mr. Hamad Al Oqab, the CEO of Al Baraka Islamic Bank. “Accordingly we would like to invite global FinTechs to use our APIs to test their innovative services and products to better serve our customers.”
Open banking involves banks giving FinTech firms access to customer data, provided the customer approves. Driven by regulatory changes in Europe, open banking is spreading from Brazil to Australia.
“Open banking is a platform-based business approach in which data, processes, and business functionalities are made available in an ecosystem of banks, customers, third-party developers, FinTech companies, and partners. The services provided are financial and may come from banks as well as from third parties.” Deloitte
Until now, Islamic banks have mainly focussed on developing fintech initiatives internally, but as competition increases from conventional banks and non-traditional firms, the industry is boosting efforts to collaborate with FinTech firms.