Bahrain's Aion Digital aims to transform the $11bn open banking market

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An open banking platform in the Gulf has successfully tested a new API service in Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox in a bid to boost the region’s financial ecosystem.

Spire Technologies, a subsidiary of Aion Digital – a Bahraini firm that helps build digital banks – said its service aims to make financial data sharing and payments simple, secure, and efficient.

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Spire Technologies will be based out of Bahrain but intends to serve the larger Middle East market.

The company has partnered with Canadian fintech solutions firm, Salt Edge, as well as other global leaders in banking such as, KFH Bahrain, to develop its solution to help regional banks develop and launch their own open banking enabled products and services for enhanced customer engagement and experience.

This new open banking platform covers all three verticals in the open banking domain, including compliance, API gateway and use cases, which involves secure real time data access via financial APIs. Some of the benefits of open banking for end-users include budgeting support, view of all banks on one-page, personalized products, and quick, easy and transparent payments.

Ashar Nazim, managing director of Spire Technologies, said that the success of open banking is “changing the way banks and fintechs run their businesses”. He said: “With the aim of achieving an open economy, all business and customers alike will see the benefits from services like this.”

The CBB, recognizing the transformation of Bahrain’s financial services sector in recent years, introduced a dedicated FinTech and Innovation Unit tasked with setting up a conducive fintech ecosystem focusing on a strong regulatory framework.

Dalal Buhejji, executive director of investment origination at Bahrain’s EDB, said: “Thanks to our forward-thinking regulators, Bahrain was the first in the region to bring in mandatory open banking and drive the creation of a strong open banking ecosystem with regional reach.”

“In addition to other advantages, like the region’s best-value operating costs, Bahrain is delivering a competitive, innovative financial services sector and Spire and Aion Digital are just some of the companies benefiting from this vision and the collaborations fostered by Team Bahrain across the ecosystem.”

The $11 billion global open banking market, which is set to reach a value of more than $52 billion by 2027, is shaking up the banking sector.

Nazim said: “Spire aims to bring globally acclaimed open banking technologies and know-how to Bahrain, for example Salt Edge, which is connected to more than 5,000 banks and data providers across 68 countries.”

“Spire will introduce innovative open banking enabled solutions to strengthen Bahrain’s leadership position in the financial services industry. We are geared up to create jobs and career opportunities in the fintech space.”

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