Regional Ecosystem High on Agenda at Souqalmal FINTECH

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - On Thursday Souqalmal hosted its first FINTECH event in collaboration with Google and INSEAD, with the primary focus on the disruption of the banking landscape and the current trend of increased digitization in the banking sector.

28 February 2016
High Profile Event Held in Collaboration with Google and INSEAD

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - On Thursday Souqalmal hosted its first FINTECH event in collaboration with Google and INSEAD, with the primary focus on the disruption of the banking landscape and the current trend of increased digitization in the banking sector.

Covering multiple topics ranging from customer-centricity to digital disruption and bank Innovation, this ground-breaking initiative to lead financial innovation was attended by representatives from leading financial institutions in the UAE and KSA and included high profile industry experts who shared their insights.

"Our aim is to be the catalyst for key investments and partnerships to move the industry forward and foster growth of Fintech and innovation in regional banks," said Ambareen Musa, CEO and Founder, Souqalmal. "An event of this caliber is a major step in that direction."

"This is also why we've launched the Souqalmal People's Choice Awards, solely led by our consumers. Our aim is to use our unique online platform to give customers a voice and create a stable of the best financial services organizations and products, driven purely by customer feedback," she said.

Awards were given out at the event, with National Commercial Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank walking away with the Most Recommended Bank in KSA and UAE respectively.

The Most Popular UAE Banking products in major 5 retail product categories: Credit Cards, Personal Finance, Car Finance, Home Finance and Accounts were also recognized. The winners, based on the consumer portal's viewership statistics, were:

The Most Popular UAE Credit Card: The American Express Platinum Credit Card

The Most Popular Personal Finance in the UAE: CBD Personal Loans for Expats

The Most Popular Car Finance in the UAE:  Al Islami Used Car Finance from Dubai Islamic Bank

The Most Popular Home Finance in the UAE: ADIB Home Finance for Expats

The Most Popular Bank Account in the UAE: Emirates NBD Standard Current Account

Musa shared key findings from the NPS Survey used to conceptualize the Bank Satisfaction Index and urged delegates to listen to the consumer voice that Souqalmal was amplifying this morning.

"With 750,000 visits a month, we are able to get very good insights into what customers seek.  Adopting a more customer-centric approach, with stronger focus on customer analytics, designing products based on what customers are looking for and streamlining processes for improved customer interaction both online and offline are the needs of the hour," she added.

Ivan Jakovljevic, Head of Travel and Finance, Google MENA, shared a number of interesting regional statistics during his presentation, including the fact that consumer online channels are the second most effective driver of the sales of financial products and that around 50% of bank customers in KSA & UAE research financial products online and later buy offline.

"Increased connectivity and digitalization is enabling banking industry disruption," according to Jakovljevic. "The time is now to acknowledge the impact of digital on one's business, clearly define a digital ambition and fully equip oneself to ride the inevitable digital wave. I want to find, I want to know, I want to need to be there for these moments and capitalize on them," he added.

Professor Peter Zemsky, Dean Strategic Initiatives and Innovation at INSEAD, shared his perspective on the rapid expansion in Fintech investments and geographic concentrations as customer expectations change.

According to Zemsky, data shows banks reporting increases in innovation investments over prior years grew from 15 percent in 2009 to 84 percent in 2014. Areas where investment was heavy have included channels, customer service and experience, processes, products and marketing and in 2015, it was estimated that $20 billion went into FINTECH globally. This number is expected to grow steadily in the next few years.

"Bearing in mind the increased usage of smart phones and the various demographics, customer expectations are changing and bank strategy has to evolve to create value for this varied customer base," he said.

"Many regional governments are empowering banks to make these changes and allowing them to undertake some very ambitious expansive programs focused on innovation and digital transformation. They know they have to innovate to build competitive advantage and this sense of urgency has led to the focus on Fintech we are witnessing first-hand," he added.


About is the #1 financial comparison site in UAE allowing users to compare retail banking products like credit cards, loans, accounts and insurance, as well as telecom and education products.

Conceptualized as a highly transparent marketplace, is designed to empower consumers to make the right choice by bringing together on one convenient platform all the latest details on more than 3,200 retail banking, telecoms, insurance and education products offered by various providers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (KSA).

With more than 360 credit cards, 440 bank accounts, 140 personal loans, 95 car loans, 90 mortgages, 200 insurance products (including health, home contents and car insurance), 1143 mobile phone plans, 150 broadband plans, 280 schools and 234 nurseries and 100+ car deals, plus 115 SME financial products, the consumer portal allows customers to do their homework using up-to-date, unbiased information.

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Josiane Assaad, Head of Content

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