As all countries across the GCC are facing revenue pressures due to a lower oil and gas prices environment, their banking and financial institutions are looking at balancing the reduced options of the respective states public spending with the states government’s economic diversification efforts to keep growth on a positive trajectory or by entering The Age of Digital Banking in the MENA

Like everywhere in the world, the age of digital banking in the MENA, has arrived for all communicating, buying/selling and perhaps above all marketing, etc. through mobile and other wearable devices, etc. 

Most banks having felt these trends very early on began their adaptation journey and are constantly looking for new ways to get the most out of their newly acquired capabilities.

The MENA banking sector has plans to go for a more pronounced digital transformation in 2017.  In fact, it has recently entered a period of digital upgrading and is now going through at discrete degrees of progress through this new era that according to Charles Habak, principal, financial services at Booz Allen Hamilton (see below) will positively impact financial institutions that adopt a top-down, concerted approach to the new digital era and, at the same time, hamper those institutions that do not effectively adapt to this change.

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. is an American management consulting firm headquartered in Tysons Corner, Virginia, in Greater Washington, D.C., with 80 other offices throughout the United States and in strategic locations globally

Banking in MENA enters digital transformation period

Booz Allen Hamilton has predicted that the banking sector in the Middle East & North Africa is entering a digital transformation phase.

According to Charles Habak, principal, financial services at Booz Allen Hamilton, this new phase will provide a positive impact for financial institutions that adopt a top-down, concerted approach to the digital era.

Habak revealed that there are five key trends the digital banking era will face in 2017.

Digital banking: Digital banking requires a new business model with stand-out value propositions and competitive pricing, while achieving lower operational costs, this will then lead their brand into the digital era.

Big data and analytics: Awareness is gaining traction, and well-managed banks are expected to start assimilating big data and advanced analytics into their most important customer journeys, and progressively adapt their management styles accordingly.

Cybersecurity: On the back of increasing cyberattacks and breaches in international and regional financial institutions, cyber security will, for the first time in the MENA region, emerge as a top priority. Financial institutions that are ahead of the curve and effectively embed cybersecurity into their risk frameworks will invest significantly in building the right capabilities and governance structures. These, in turn, will equip them to pre-emptively address incidents that could potentially damage their operations as well as reputation.

Advanced digital: Customers continue to expect more from their banks; they want speed, ease-of-use, limited cost and transparency. As a result, we expect to see opportunities emerging in more advanced areas such as predictive analytics, machine learning, wearables, robot advisory and customer support, to name a few, which have largely been nascent in the region to-date. Banks that leverage such technologies underpinned by sound business cases and clear customer scenarios will benefit in the short-term from greater brand recognition. In the medium-term, these technologies will help build a foundation for the required capabilities to capitalise on the next wave of customer demands.

Specialised job creation: Personnel will be added and play an increasingly important role in areas such as data science, UI design, customer experience design, digital application development, digital payments, cyber security and digital governance.