GIB Granted Retail Banking Licence in Bahrain

Press release
Published June 29th, 2017 - 05:22 GMT
GIB’s Chairman, His Excellency Mr. Jammaz bin Abdullah Al-Suhaimi.
GIB’s Chairman, His Excellency Mr. Jammaz bin Abdullah Al-Suhaimi.

Gulf International Bank (GIB) is pleased to announce that it has been granted a conventional retail banking licence in the Kingdom of Bahrain by the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Commenting on the announcement GIB’s Chairman, His Excellency Mr. Jammaz bin Abdullah Al-Suhaimi, extended his appreciation to the Bahraini authorities, especially the Central Bank of Bahrain, for the confidence placed on GIB’s retail banking capabilities. His Excellency Mr. Al-Suhaimi highlighted GIB’s 40-year history in the Kingdom of Bahrain as a key contributor in the financial services sector, and its continued commitment to diversify and further strengthen its operations in Bahrain and the region.

The licence is considered to be an important milestone for GIB as it will expand the bank’s presence in Bahrain and pave the way for further expansion across the GCC. GIB initially launched its retail banking products and services under the brand name Meem, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2015.  

His Excellency, Mr. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board congratulated GIB on the occasion, saying: “We are delighted that GIB has been granted a retail banking licence for Meem in Bahrain. The FinTech industry has the potential to greatly influence how consumers and companies engage, and can positively disrupt economies in a way that allows for even further growth. However, in order to truly realise the potential, Bahrain has to have the right ecosystem in place. The launch of the service Meem by GIB demonstrates the Kingdom’s willingness to embrace this disruption and we look forward to seeing more banks grow their FinTech activities.”

GIB CEO Abdulaziz Al-Helaissi said: “We are very pleased with this new venture. Meem in Bahrain will be the first digital bank in the region. The favourable regulatory environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain facilitates the establishment of digital banking platforms. We intend to launch Meem services and products in Bahrain in 2018 and we are confident that Meem will play an important role in the development of the FinTech ecosystem in Bahrain and the region.”

Meem is aimed at modernising retail banking in the region combining online and mobile banking with ultramodern physical store locations; Meem offers convenience, freedom of choice, and exceptional value for money. Meem customers can open accounts online in minutes, and conduct day-to-day transactions through its online e-banking channel, supported by a wide range of communication channels, including telephone, mobile devices, e-mail, web chat and social media.

For more than 40 years, Gulf International Bank has been trusted by its clients in the region to provide a broad range of financial products and investment services. Gulf International Bank (B.S.C.) – “The Group”, has an asset base of BHD 9 Billion as at the quarter ended 31st March 2017.

Gulf International Bank (B.S.C.) is licenced by the Central Bank of Bahrain, head quartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain and owned by the governments of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund being the principal shareholder of 97.2%. In addition to the activities of the Gulf International Bank in the GCC, the bank has branches in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Background Information

Gulf International Bank

Gulf International Bank B.S.C. (GIB) was established in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 1975, and commenced operations in 1976. In 2017, GIB became the first foreign domiciled bank to be granted approval from the Saudi Arabia Council of Ministers to establish a local commercial bank in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Consequently, GIB's branch offices in the Kingdom will become part of the Saudi Arabian subsidiary, with the country headquarters located in Al Dhahran.

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