Backbase is reaffirming its commitment to Saudi Arabia with the launch of a new regional office and the appointment of a new senior leadership team in the country. This latest expansion follows increasing market demand in Saudi Arabia, with SAMA – the Kingdom’s financial regulator – offering new licenses and open banking development as part of Vision 2030.
By opening a new regional office in the Kingdom Centre, Hugayat Tower, Riyadh, Backbase is able to get closer to existing and future partners and thereby empower greater success for customers. “The launch of our new regional center and the first appointment to our senior leadership team in the Kingdom highlight Backbase’s commitment to Saudi Arabia. This expansion is a recognition of the importance of the Saudi market to Backbase and the rapid growth the country is undergoing as part of Vision 2030. We have seen positive demand for the Backbase platform in KSA and by expanding our presence in the country we will be better placed to develop new partnerships,” said Matthijs Eijpe, Regional Vice President EMEA at Backbase.
This growth will enable Backbase to support new partnerships more effectively by being closer to clients and thereby enabling them to successfully complete their digital transformation journeys by implementing the Backbase platform. It will also allow Backbase to continue supporting existing partnerships that are now expanding into the banking services sector in KSA. These include the National Bank of Bahrain, which is branching into the Kingdom with the Backbase Engagement Banking platform.
“A key element of this strategy is the appointment of Ahmad Guandour, who joins our senior leadership team as Director of Sales Middle East and will be based in Riyadh. We are delighted to welcome Guandour, who brings a wealth of experience in the region’s banking software industry and has worked with various KSA institutions in his previous roles. He has worked within the sector for around 20 years in the Middle East region and has been focused on developing banks in Saudi Arabia. A graduate of Lebanese American University with BAs in Economics and Finance, Guandour is a passionate and knowledgeable professional who is determined to help banks develop to meet today’s customer expectations through digital transformation.”
The driving force behind Backbase’s push into Saudi Arabia has been the increasing demand especially with fintech investments in the country. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has also issued new Payment Services Provider Regulations (PSPR) for foreign fintech, and new licensing guidelines for digital-only banks, facilitating innovation in the Kingdom and forcing banks to ramp up their digital investments. This is being fueled by heightened demand among consumers in KSA. A recent Backbase commissioned YouGov poll of 1,011 people in the Kingdom found 88% of consumers now prefer digital banking services over visiting a physical branch in the post-Covid-19 era.
Furthermore, the study found that 82% of respondents now access digital banking services at least once a week with 39% willing to switch banks due to poor customer service. Perhaps more worrying for financial institutions is the fact that just over a third of those questioned said their bank’s existing digital and online offerings were weak. Backbase is currently in the process of establishing a small field organization that will be made up of Commercial Leadership and Customer Success Organisation teams in the Kingdom to help facilitate digital transformation for partners.