Bahrain’s Central Bank launches its own digital fintech lab

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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FinHub 973
Representational Image

Bahrain’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is launching its first comprehensive digital fintech lab for the region in collaboration with Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bank ABC, ila Bank, BENEFIT, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) and Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB).

The new platform, FinHub 973, which will be regulated by CBB is expected to create a collaborative ecosystem in the region’s fintech sector by creating investment opportunities while encouraging innovation and close collaboration between fintech startups and the country’s financial institutions.

Powered by Fintech Galaxy’s cloud-based open innovation platform FinX22, FinHub 973 will comply with the best international technical standards. The FinX22 platform will offer fintech startups an open banking API sandbox to develop, test and deploy fintech solutions.

Through its AI-powered global fintech marketplace, FinHub 973 will strive to connect financial institutions in the country and in the region with fintech ventures all across the globe. The platform’s digital lab will facilitate matchmaking and crowdsourcing capabilities which in turn will allow fintech ventures to design effective solutions leading to disruptive and transformative innovation across the financial services industry.

Rasheed Al Maraj
Rasheed Al Maraj
Central Bank of Bahrain

“We are pleased to launch the FinHub 973 digital fintech lab that will support a seamless transition into digital banking operations while accelerating the transformation towards an AI-powered digital economy.”

“The COVID-19 repercussions have proven the great importance of expanding digital banking and providing appropriate solutions for electronic payment systems. The Central Bank has early realized the importance of continuously developing the banking sector infrastructure, putting itself at the forefront of regulatory bodies that support innovation in order to establish Bahrain’s position as a top financial center. The launch of FinHub 973 reaffirms the vision of the Central Bank of Bahrain to expand infrastructure in financial technology, unlock innovation opportunities, and introduce new and innovative financial products to the market.”

The launch of FinHub 973 is one of several initiatives unveiled by the Central Bank to spur innovation in the Bahrain financial sector.

CBB’s other initiatives include the setting up of a dedicated Fintech and Innovation Unit at the bank, the launch of the Regulatory Sandbox in 2017 and issuing regulations for Open Banking, Crypto-asset Platform Operators, Digital Financial Advice (“robo-advisory”), Cloud Computing and Insurance Aggregators.

FinHub 973 will support financial institutions towards organizing virtual hackathons and challenges to accelerate innovation and business growth. The platform will also provide content on the fintech sector financial and the relevant laws and regulations in the Kingdom of Bahrain, through an interactive chatbot.