Another year has come to an end, and while we had hoped that the pandemic would too, we must continue to persevere in times of global uncertainty.

The evolvement of the financial sector today is more rapid than we have witnessed in the past decade. Financial institutions have found themselves at a crossroads determined by a new generation of clients, perspectives and demands.

In 2020, we had witnessed financial institutions being prompted to introduce digital approaches to sustain their business, with many of our clients identifying the need to transform manual and physical processes into automated, digital ones.

This year however, our mantra for our existing and prospect clients was not to go digital but grow digital: a rationale driven by the need to expand digital assets to not only sustain business, but thrive in a highly penetrated, competitive market with rapidly evolving demands.

With that, we commenced this year with the launch of our Digital Banking Platform to fulfill the demands of banking customers. The platform consolidates corporate and retail banking experiences in one digital, remote, smart and centralized platform for banks to expand their digital touchpoints. The launch was timely and generated huge success.

For regulatory bodies, we set our Blockchain-based Central Bank Digital Currency in motion with several central banks around the world, and we anticipate that it will only become more amplified from this year on, with pilots and launches of regulated digital currencies being more rapidly executed than initially anticipated by the financial sector.

Market demands are leaning towards digital. This was reaffirmed with the implementation of our countrywide electronic checks in Bahrain, a first of its kind implementation in the world that had achieved results beyond our expectations with 45,000 users registering on day one, and 500,000 on day five. The numbers continue to grow.

In 2021, we also continued to participate in premier global events for the financial industry including Sibos, the Mobile World Congress, Central Bank Payments Conference, Middle East Banking Innovation Summit and the Fintech and Blockchain UAE Summit. Some of these events were in-person, and others virtual, but the vital part is that we remain knowledgeable in our domain, anticipate where the sector is headed, and in turn, deliver solutions that tie with our clients’ needs.

During those events, we took part in fruitful sessions with prominent institutions including Deutsche Bank, the Bank for International Settlements and the Federal Reserve among others. It is always a pleasure curating relevant topics of discussion for the industry.

New insights were gained, discussions unfolded, and partnerships formed with leading players in the industry including OIFC and Mastercard. All in all, our industry initiatives were a success, and we are looking forward for upcoming ones in the year 2022.

Our Corporate Social Responsibility was once again, as it will ever be, in the spotlight of our achievements. We launched a new Company Sponsored Dissertation program to complement academic studies achievements with work experience through specified tracks for research topics that will be updated on an annual basis. We welcomed 62 interns from universities around the world to conduct our practical internship program in business and technical domains. Our annual contribution to families in need with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship was maintained, and so did our annual breast cancer awareness campaign on-premises. We continue to do our due diligence in going green by recycling paper, plastic and aluminum waste. We also completed our vaccination program for our colleagues and their families.

Finally, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our teams around the world. Your diligence and hard work are what made 2021 a fantastic year, a progressive one.

As we look forward to another year, we ponder what the financial sector will be like in the coming decade, and we foresee digital, optimal and efficient. Complemented with security, sustainability and above all, lots of possibility.

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2022.

Sincerely,

Michael Wakileh

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