Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank unveils digital-only bank Amwali for Gen Z

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), the emirate’s largest Sharia-compliant lender, has launched a digital-only bank, to cater to the UAE’s expanding sector of tech-savvy youths.

Generation Z, the newest generation of youths between the ages of eight and eighteen will be able to sign up for the bank, known as Amwali, which means “my money” in Arabic, through a smartphone app that includes a debit card that can be linked to Apple Pay and other mobile wallets.

According to the research of Morgan Stanley, a leading global investment bank and wealth management firm, millennials and their younger generation will transform the financial industry in their tech-savvy, mobile-first image, with ramifications for all consumers, companies, and investors.

The growth of fintech companies, increasing demand for digitally informed customers, and a rise in digital services have compelled banks around the world to invest in digitalization. Consumers shifted to cashless payments and internet purchasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in lockdowns and social distancing around the world.

Raweya Al Qader
Raweya Al Qader
Head of youth banking

“We are putting a lot of emphasis on youths at ADIB as they form such a strong part of the future of this country. We are excited to present a program to financially empower the generation that will shape the UAE’s next 50 years.”

Emirates NBD established Liv. bank, a millennial-focused bank, in the first half of 2017. In the same year, Mashreq, Dubai’s oldest lender, launched Mashreq Neo. Independent digital banks, such as Al Maryah Community Bank, which received a license from the UAE Central Bank in April this year, are also entering the market. This was followed by the launch of the UAE’s first independent digital bank, Zand, which caters to retail and corporate clients.

Young users will be able to set savings goals, receive regular allowances from their parents, send money to friends and family, and access a variety of financial tools and information resources through ADIB’s Amwali app, which is controlled by their parents.

According to a Visa financial literacy survey conducted in 2019, 43 percent of UAE respondents aged 16 to 24 stated they are not ready to manage their own money, while 53 percent claimed their schools did not adequately equip them to manage their finances.

ADIB plans to expand Amwali’s features, including the ability for children to earn extra allowances by performing tasks assigned by their parents. It will also include videos and gamify the financial education process, allowing children to earn points for completing courses.

Related: Dubai Islamic Bank raises foreign ownership to 40%