Dubai – MENA Herald: Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the Middle East region has launched its Global Innovation Program in partnership with Berlin-based Open Bank Project.

The Emirates NBD Group Fintech Challenge is an arena for fintech experts, and a platform for start-ups and individual developers/ innovators around the world to present their big idea on financial technology.

The Emirates NBD Group Fintech Challenge is centred around five (5) relevant challenge themes:
Customer Acquisition & On-boarding
Loyalty & Engagement
SME Banking
Banking in the age of Blockchain/Biometrics/IoT
Islamic Banking

Participating start-ups can leverage these challenge statements on leading technology trends such as Biometrics, Mobile Wallets/Payments, Artificial Intelligence, Social Media Banking in conjunction with new and emerging Business Models.

Start-ups are invited to enter the competition before April 1st through an online application at www.enbdgroupfintechchallenge.com. 15 to 20 Finalists will be chosen and receive travel stipends to participate in a 3-day hackathon in London from April 15-17. At the hackathon, the start-ups will further develop their products, receive mentoring from business, design, technology and communication experts; and present to senior management members of Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic, who will determine the winners of the competition.

The winning teams will receive 20,000 Euros, 12,500 Euros and 10,000 Euros for first, second and third prizes respectively, and awarded the opportunity to further develop the product with the bank.

The competition is fuelled by the Open Bank Project API (Application Programming Interface), which allows developers to access data and services at the bank and build new apps and software solutions on top of these. The competition will be run in a controlled environment (‘sandbox’) in which test data emulating real situations is used.

“Emirates NBD has always taken bold steps to remain the most innovative bank in the Middle East,” Abdulla Qassem, Group Chief Operating Officer of Emirates NBD, “The bank has invested smartly in technology innovation to transform the customer experience and opening up to external innovations is part of our constant search for new technologies that will drive the future of banking. We are committed to making banking accessible and convenient to match our customers’ lifestyles and needs.”

In recent years, Emirates NBD has launched exciting next generation self-service banking innovations such as the mobile-based Fitness Account; DirectRemit, a 60-second online remittance service; Mobile Cheque Deposit, Banking via Twitter; Emirates NBD mePay, a peer-to-peer money transfer service; and ‘Shake n Save’. This has led to various awards including the Best Consumer Digital Bank in the Middle East and Africa by Global Finance, ‘Bank of the Year – Middle East 2015’ by The Banker and the Fitness Account Innovation of the Month December 2015 by EFMA.

“An API enables innovation to happen in faster and unexpected ways because innovative developers and entrepreneurs can quickly imagine, design and code ‘out of the box’ solutions leveraging rock solid, secure services provided by the bank. This allows the bank to more quickly understand and on-board innovations to the benefit of their customers. We are thrilled to be working with Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic, a banking group that is clearly serious about partnering with outside start-ups and innovators across the globe,” says Simon Redfern, CEO of TESOBE Ltd / Open Bank Project.