National Bank of Bahrain Announces Digital Transformation Strategy

National Bank of Bahrain Announces Digital Transformation Strategy

NBB announced details of the Bank’s strategy for its digital transformation, which centres on better meeting the fast-evolving needs of customers and modernising every aspect of its banking experience through the strengthening of its digital capabilities.

Comprised of several important components, including comprehensive developments in services, operations and human resources, the transformation agenda prioritises the swift actioning of customer-focused enhancements. To be completed before year-end 2018, these include the reorganisation of the branch network and development of a template for the “branch of the future”, substantial upgrading of ATMs, launch of a native mobile banking app and the upgrading and relaunch of Business Online Banking (BOB).

Commenting on the Bank’s digital ambitions, Mr. Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO of NBB, said,

Jean Christophe Durand

Jean Christophe Durand

“Already the Kingdom’s largest commercial bank, this exciting transformation will further extend NBB’s market leadership to the digital sector where we aim to establish the Bank as Bahrain’s digital leader and one of the best in the region.

We have now established a clear roadmap for our digital journey focusing on making banking easier and more responsive to customer needs while also supporting efforts to diversify revenues, enhance efficiency, better manage operational risk and, ultimately, deliver on targeted growth in line with our new strategy.”

These first steps in NBB’s digital transformation will enhance the Bank’s customer service by migrating transactions largely to what will be upgraded non-branch, digital channels like ATMs and advanced mobile and internet solutions that will be launched later this year. This will free up branches to provide an improved banking experience by focusing on meeting strategic customer needs in areas such advisory and sales.

Goal: 80% Digital

NBB aims for 80% of all transactions to be processed digitally and 20% of new products and services to be sold online to customers. While branches will be the most beneficiaries by the digital strategy implementation, they will remain an important channel particularly for relationship management and the close connections NBB aims to maintain and further build with its customers.

Mr. Durand continued,

“We have seen a marked shift in the expectations and banking habits of our customers in today’s digital world. This has made our transformation across all customer touch points a priority. We are moving quickly ahead with our plans to upgrade our digital capabilities and are committed to providing a market-leading online experience across multiple digital platforms that can quickly and efficiently respond to customers’ fast-evolving needs and behaviours.”

Alongside critical customer-facing enhancements now underway, simultaneously the Bank has begun the implementation of a full-scale internal transformation to ensure its operational backbone is fully modernised and can support a digital future. This includes the upgrading of the core banking system, improvements to IT infrastructure and systems, adoption of solutions to better use and synthesise data as well as other technology-related productivity enhancements across the business.

Digital Skillset for Staff

To effectively implement these broad-based changes, the Bank is also focusing on transforming the way in which it works and its skills base. Developing a digitally-geared workforce will require substantial and ongoing investments in the talent pool including significant recruitment, ongoing training and the redeployment of staff.

Success in the Bank’s digital journey also requires close collaboration with other parties that are working to develop Bahrain’s digital ecosystem and, particularly, those seeking to introduce relevant, new financial technologies (Fintech). To this end, NBB has joined Bahrain Fintech Bay as a Founding Partner and the Bank’s Chief Strategy Officer, Mr. Yaser Alsharifi, was recently appointed as the Chairman of the Fintech hub’s Advisory Board and a member of its Executive Board.

Concluding Mr. Durand said,

“We are excited about these plans and confident that the changes underway will create significant value for our customers, employees and shareholders and ensure that NBB remains at the forefront of banking both in Bahrain and in the region. As our teams continue their work, we will also be communicating our progress including the launch of new digital solutions and features as they become available to our existing and new customers.”

Supporting NBB in the development of its digital transformation strategy and its implementation, alongside in-house IT and banking teams, are international consultants, Roland Berger.


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