May 26, 2024

Ahli United Bank wins top honours for its banking technology

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Ahli United Bank K.S.C.P. was the first bank to be established in Kuwait in 1941, and since converting to Islamic banking in 2010 has led the field in offering innovative Sharia-compliant financial solutions and services. In a conversation with International Business Magazine, Mr. Abdullah Jaragh – AUBK’s CIO discussed the current technology trends, what technology he believes will define the future of banking, and the robust security features used in the Bank.

Tell us about the current technology trend observed across banks in the GCC region and in Kuwait.

Over the recent years banks in GCC region and in Kuwait are more focused to Digital transformation, where customer experience (CX) banking, innovation and sustainability is the key focus.   And to innovate in terms of customer experience, “data” plays an important role. I have seen banks and financial institutions are investing more in Data Analytics. Be it be the regression on customer’s “expending trends” or customer “sentiments analysis” based on feedbacks but it’s all about data now a days.

In addition the data open banking is one of the critical need to current banks in region. I have seen a significant move towards “Open banking financial innovations” and cloud computing.   With the help of Open banking banks are integrating and collaborating with fintech (financial technology) provider but the ultimate goal of Customer Experience is always the key factor.

Moreover if we see the recent short term trends that are not based on major technology shifts to “Big data Analytics”, “Open Banking” or block chain etc., These trends also revolves around customer experience as we can see a “explosion in Mobile banking Usage”, “Contactless payments are on huge growth”, “Trade and supply chain” processes undergone a noticeable change to be closure to consumers and be paperless as much as it can.

In which technologies are AUB planning to invest in the next 5 years?

In-line with AUB strategy to innovate and invest in technologies from a long time. We have planned to invest and in fact already invested in many of the advanced technologies to build a strong ecosystem to provide best in class products and services to our customers.  Some of these technologies includes, Robotic Process Automation, Open Banking Financial Innovation, Big data Analytics and Cloud computing (As per the approval framework on Central Bank of Kuwait).  To provide best in class services in experience to customers we need to be strong in our internal support unit process also, therefore we have invested and growing more on “Business Process automation” part as a short term plans.

Give us a few instances of innovations done at AUB in the past 5 years.

Our technology and banking team always motivated for Innovation, therefore sure I would like to mention some of our key Innovative initiatives like, “Digital Branch in Avenues –Mall”, there are number of features that makes this branch one of the most advance in region. It is designed in a way to add new technologies quickly over the coming months and years.  Another initiative is for Innovations on ATM, AUB ATMs are now equipped with, OMNI channel experience of transactions on ATM, In addition contactless or card less transactions can also be performed using NFC, Civil ID and PACI mobile ID. This ATM innovation awarded as the “Asian banker Middle east Award for ATM Innovation”.

Also in collaboration with Public Authority of Civil Information (PACI), we are now integrated with “Kuwait Mobile ID” for Authentication and Digital Signature allowing us to server customer account boarding and KYC digitally.  In addition we recently did a CRM Enhancements to turn tellers to sellers, it include CRM with capabilities to have quick and effective data and insight of customer. To enable tellers or front users for Cross-Selling and providing best in class service to customers.

What is the strategy adopted for Digital Transformation at AUB?

Our Digital Transformation strategies involves the usage of data analytics (AI & NLP) and analyze our customers “product and services usage trend” and “sentiments of our customer via feedback”, to enhance customer experience.

This will interns helps to digitalize the highly utilized products and services to lower operational cost, making them more interactive for customers and hence increase revenue. Our strategies involves, Engaging more and more with customers and delivering optimal experience through the customer desired digital channels.  

As our employees are our biggest assets, we empower them to anticipate and meet customer demand through an enhanced process enabled by advance technologies. Our strategies involves to optimize the operational processes by better managing the resources and keep business process synchronized across all boundaries.

What are AUB’s unique and robust security features?

AUB ensures to have a robust security controls to protect all the assets from the following threats:

Insider Threats:

User Access Reviews, Risk Management Framework, Effective Governance framework and Segregation of Duty Matrix

Cyber Threats:

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Privilege Access Management (PAM)

End Point Security solutions: Data Leakage Prevention (DLP) – File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) – Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) – Network Access Control (NAC) – Anti-Virus

Defense in Depth (DiD – Firewall) – Data Encryption – Technical Compliance: Vulnerability Assessment – Penetration Testing – Patch Management – Baseline Assessment – Design and Develop

Security Operations Center – Database monitoring tool – Threat advisory partners (CTM 360 – Atos – CBK etc.) – Active directory security tool

Physical Threats:

CCTV Monitoring – Effective Visitor Management System

Exclusive excerpts of an email interaction

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