Emaar founder Mohamed Alabbar to lead UAE’s new digital only bank ‘Zand’

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Mohamed Alabbar
Mohamed Alabbar, the founder of Emaar Properties & noon.com will be the head of Zand.

The UAE’s new full-scale digital bank ‘Zand’ is all set to become the first in the world to cater both retail and corporate banking services with Mohamed Alabbar, the founder and former chairman of Emaar Properties, as its head.

Being the UAE’s first fully independent digital bank, with a full banking license, the Zand will offer innovative, effective financial solutions that will support the process of simplifying the businesses and lives by addressing the needs of both retail and corporate customers, Mr. Alabbar explained in his statement.

“The UAE combines progressive regulations with commercial, financial, and technology hubs. This provides the perfect environment for a world-leading digital bank that can launch in the UAE and scale beyond,” Mr. Alabbar said.

According to the statement, Zand will be a digital economic accelerator and will be a platform for wider digital services that would be focused on businesses and individuals.

Currently, the new entity is expecting the final regulatory approval and will launch soon. The bank will be unique in focusing on ecosystems and communities of businesses and individuals by introducing distinctive products and services that are not traditionally available.

Olivier Crespin, a veteran banker, who most recently headed Eradah Capital in Dubai and previously worked for BNP Paribas, Citi, and DBS Bank, will be the chief executive of Zand.

“Backed by strong shareholders and working with the best bankers and technologists, we’ve built a bank that delivers on the promise of understanding and meeting customer needs,” said Mr. Crespin.

With the high volume of tech-savvy consumer base and an uptick in digital services, banks across the globe are forced increasingly to invest in digitalization and reduce the number of branches. Some of UAE’s mega-banks already have gone live with their digital banking spinoffs, last year, ADQ, Abu Dhabi-based holding company, said it plans to set up a digital bank in the country using a legacy banking license held by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

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