Wio Bank announced the launch of its operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and became the first platform bank in the region.
On Tuesday, Wio Bank, a digital banking platform regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE, with the headquarters are located in Abu Dhabi, aims to concentrate on small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in its initial year’s and it will broaden its operations to retail clientele in the coming year to become a full-service digital bank.
Earlier this year they appointed His Excellency Salem Al Nuaimi as Chairman of the Board and Jayesh Patel as Chief Executive Officer. The appointments were approved by the Central Bank of the UAE.
Wio, a government-backed digital bank, is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi Development Company (ADQ), Alpha Dhabi Holding, Etisalat and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).
The holding company Alpha Dhabi together with ADQ acquires a combined stake of 65%.Telecoms and tech conglomerate Etisalat holds a 25% stake and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) holds 10%. The total initial capital invested in Wio is AED 2.3 billion ($626 million).
Wio is offering digital cards, free debit cards and low foreign exchange (FX) rates which was earlier the bank stated on its website.
The new bank wants to deliver next-generation electronic banking solutions in the nation. It will provide services in three areas – digital banking apps, embedded finance and banking-as-a-service (BaaS).
Jayesh Patel said that Wio as a platform is working on the digital bank apps on which the market competitions such as Liv by Emirates NBD, Masreq NEO and Zand are working on and then it priorities on making it easier and encouraging their businesses with the app/
Digital banking apps
According to a survey, among five individual customers only one is most likely to have an account with a digital bank in UAE but this is expected to increase in the following years. Wio has decided to launch an extent of digital banking apps for individual and business customers. These will provide simple and immediate access to banking services, insights and tools to manage their personal and business live efficiently.
The embedded finance market is assessed to grow hundreds of billions globally in the following decade. Wio wants to take banking where customers already commit and lessen the need for customers to go to bank to get banking services.
Banking-as-a-service solutions (BaaS)
BaaS enables non-banking economy businesses to incorporate and white label financial services in their applications. Wio wants to partner with digital businesses to provide its ready-made and modular BaaS solutions to facilitate them to provide banking products and services to their customers.
The new digital bank has plans to expand its offerings in the future months. It is to launch a range of digital banking apps for retail and business customers and partner with digital businesses to offer its BaaS solutions. It will play an effective role to ingrain customised financial services with leading digital performers in the country and, hence enhancing the digital economy.