The majority of the shares of Dubai Bank from Emirates NBD have been acquired by the shareholders of Zand, the upcoming digital bank in the UAE, in a move to support its imminent launch. Zand is set to be the “first digital bank to provide both retail and corporate services.”
Chairman of Zand, Mohammed Alabbar, said, “Today’s announcement marks another major milestone for Zand. We are excited to be closing in on our goal of establishing the UAE’s first native digital bank. In line with the UAE’s digital agenda and inspired by the nation’s spirit of innovation, we have been actively working with design, technology, and financial partners to create a platform that will change the way people bank.”
Zand stated that they aim to make banking “quicker and simpler” through fully digitalized offerings and provide tools to help customers gain full control of their financial lives. Zand will also introduce non-orthodox products and services. Set to be an accelerator of the digital economy in UAE, Zand will lay the foundation for the future generations of digital services. “We have re-imagined banking, freeing ourselves from the legacy mindset and processes of traditional banks while putting the customer at the center of everything we do.” said co-founder and CEO Olivier Crespin.
Alabbar added, “As a commercial, financial, and technology hub, coupled with a progressive approach to regulation, the UAE provides the ideal environment into which to launch, and we cannot wait to welcome our first customers.”
Fintech solutions and digital banking platforms have gained increasing popularity in the UAE, leading to a much-needed rise in digital banking platforms. In 2017, Dubai’s largest bank, Emirates NBD, launched the UAE’s first digital bank, Liv, followed by the first independent digital banking app in the UAE launched by Dubai-based YAP in March of 2021. In addition, Dubai Islamic Bank launched Rabbit, a “FUNTECH” digital banking app focusing on the younger generation, in December 2021. Offering loyalty options and discounts, the app will launch initially with a debit card, current accounts, transfers, and payments. Furthermore, last year, following the obtainment of the legacy license of First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi investment firm ADQ revealed plans to establish a digital bank with an initial capital of $545m (AED 2 billion). This rise in digitalized banking has been well received by individuals and corporations alike.