Interview with Yaser Alsharifi, Chief Strategy Off...

Interview with Yaser Alsharifi, Chief Strategy Officer, NBB

Yaser Alsharifi

Chief Strategy Officer, Strategy & Business Development

National Bank of Bahrain



1- What Fintech trends do you predict will take hold first in Bahrain? And how is NBB preparing for them?

Bahrain has developed an ecosystem to attract, develop and nurture technology startups including Fintechs and this has resulted in a burgeoning environment of accelerators and startups within and outside the regulatory sandbox. The overarching trend has been towards payments and eKYC solutions providers both of which have immediate applications in the market. These are areas that we at NBB are looking at to complement our wider data strategy.


2- You recently embarked on cloud adoption. What are the phases of this programme and why did you instigate it?

In line with government’s cloud first policy and the success with AWS and other players we are evaluating the options available as integral to our digital strategy and our overall promise to serve our clients . This has started with the simple step of hosting our website on AWS and will consider other areas going forward being mindful of the need for robust cybersecurity and customer confidentiality protocols.


3- What have been the biggest challenges you have faced in managing NBB’s digital transformation?

Transformation is always a challenge and in the case of NBB we are fortunate to have people internally who are excited about the prospects of the digital transformation. The key challenge for the management team is to ensure that our people are equipped and have a cohesive understanding of how this will impact our day to day business and our delivery to the customers.  This is most critical during the interim phase of development where the outcomes are not evident to all.


4- How has digital disruption changed your approach to customer service?

Our business strategy is based on a customer centric approach and are therefore mindful of minimizing disruption to our customer service while we follow the implementation road map. It has also challenged us to rethink service delivery to our existing and target customers to ensure that our solutions are designed around excellence in service delivery based on the customer’s profile and needs.


5- In ten years’ time, how might global banking look totally different because of digital disruption?

The digital disruption has pervasive implications on how a bank and customer conduct business with some questioning the need for intermediaries with the proliferation and adoption of block chain and other distributed ledger solutions. As we have been seeing recently, the physical channels are an obvious area under review with some players opting for a pure digital presence. Simply put, digital disruption in ten years’ time could lead to universal banking accessible to all in a safe, fast and accurate manner.  This doesn’t however mean the end of the banking industry and could be an evolution of how things are done with the caveat that financial institutions embrace the opportunities