Since its establishment in 1967, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) has progressed to become one of the leading Kuwaiti banks offering integrated and seamless retail and corporate banking services across all its markets in Kuwait, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.
Today, ABK has a total of 42 branches in Egypt, 31 branches in Kuwait, and 3 in the UAE.
ABK commenced operations in the DIFC in 2018 and is the foreign currency booking unit of the ABK Group. The corporate finance needs of customers in Kuwait, Egypt and the UAE is serviced out of the DIFC branch and part of the FI team in the International Banking Division is now based in this unit.
As time progresses a transnational approach will be required (whether it be customer segment or product) and DIFC will be the hub that will house these initiatives.
Fastest Growing Bank in the Middle East
Over the years, ABK has certainly seen a change in the DNA and a visible overall transformation, which has earned them a number of awards; including being listed in the top ten safest banks in the Middle East, as well as being recognized as the Fastest Growing bank in the region by a number of different finance magazines.
ABK’s digital turnaround has been phenomenal, and in a short space of time the bank has transformed a once rather ‘old fashioned, paper intensive’ bank into a more dynamic bank through their investment in technology and people.
ABK’s growth and innovation, was one of the key reasons why they were awarded the ‘Fastest Growing Bank in the Middle East’ at Business Live Middle East’s New Age Banking Awards.
ABK’s digital strategy was formulated along the following (“A2 B2 C2”) blocks:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Big Data
During 2018-2019, ABK introduced a variety of digital implementations. The Quick Account Opening Online facility, for instance, allows existing clients to instantly open various other accounts online (including current and savings). Clients can also use ABK’s digital channels to obtain pre approval on loans or credit cards directly from their internet and mobile banking platforms.
In early 2019, ABK integrated Ripple’s technology into its existing services to offer customers fast funds transfers, on the back of secure infrastructure. ABK is one of the few financial institutions in Kuwait to reduce transaction times to a few minutes with their instant cross-border payments platform for customers between Kuwait and UAE.
Digital implementations at ABK have also allowed seamless cross-market account management. The Bank’s Global Account View between Kuwait, UAE & Egypt allows clients to view accounts across three markets that they are present in. They can also get their bank statements from the date of inception (as far back as 30 years).
Facilities like ABKPay allows clients to send a link via WhatsApp, SMS or email, requesting their contact to pay them. The link then opens a knet payment page through which users can transfer funds. This service also includes a hand ‘bill split’ feature for dinner outings or shared gifts.
ABK also leverages state of the art robotic technology to not only transform customer experience but also behind-the-scenes operations. Today, company employee salary processing; finacle user ID unlocking and password resetting; and user branch changes are done using robotic technology.