Waqfe, one of the fastest growing fintechs in the GCC announced the launch of its next generation banking platform, Aion Digital. Aion is a fully mobile platform that builds secure digital banks.
The launch coincided with the expansion of Aion to UAE market and signing of a major multiyear contract with a significant confidential financial institution. In Bahrain, Aion digital platform is also deployed by Kuwait Finance House and another Islamic bank.
Ashar Nazim, Group CEO said “Aion’s mission is to enable existing banks in GCC to go digital with certainty. Aion works smoothly with legacy core banking systems to deliver fast, affordable digital launch for banks. It is custom built for GCC’s regulatory and business environment and initial results have been very encouraging. Banks are able to expand beyond their traditional customer base while reducing acquisition cost by up to 80 percent.”
The positive impact on bank’s profitability is timely. Moody’s recently reported that slower economic growth and subdued credit demand has intensified competition for depositors and borrowers, dampening profits at GCC banks. Another rating agency S&P said that GCC banks profitability is expected to stabilize at a lower level than seen historically, primarily due to increased cost of risk.
“The only sustainable way forward for banks is through offers that are embedded within the customer’s digital lifestyle, and where banks drive themselves invisible. Banks deploying Aion are able to combine digital onboarding, digital KYC, contextual product offering, loyalty program and data-driven campaigns to offer a distinct customer experience,” said Nazim.
Aion is spearheading the introduction of new technologies and frameworks such as open banking and digital banking enhanced with the power of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Aion plans to route this innovation through CBB sandbox. “Open banking, borderless banking and AI driven lifestyle banking are top of agenda. “Bahrain offers an excellent opportunity for fintechs to experiment and win fast and lose fast, and this gives our investors a lot more confidence on our future roadmap” said Nazim.
Aion also announced platform-as-a-service model to bring cutting edge global solutions to GCC. This will make innovation a lot more affordable for banks who can deploy new solutions at fraction of the cost. The modular nature of the platform means that banks can get started with a single innovative solution that best supports their strategy. Digital onboarding is the most popular module which onboards customers in less than five minutes without the need to visit the branch.
Markets have responded with strong vote of confidence. Aion reported successful closing of Series A equity round which saw the company value jump five times over a twelve-month period.