The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) launched the Bahrain Open Banking Framework (Bahrain OBF) to ensure holistic implementation of Open Banking services by the industry. This framework includes detailed operational guidelines, security standards and guidelines, customer experience guidelines, technical open Application Programming Interface (API) specifications and the overall governance framework needed to protect customer data. These standards follow the comprehensive rules on Open Banking which were previously issued in December 2018.
The framework was developed in collaboration with Deloitte and in consultation with retail banks and other financial institutions in Bahrain.
Open Banking services entail the provision of two broad categories of services. The first is “account information service” which provides customers with access to all bank account information in an aggregated manner through a single platform, whereas the second category is “payment initiation service” which allows licensed third parties to initiate payments on behalf of customers while allowing seamless transfers between different customer accounts through a mobile based application.
Commenting on the launch, Mr. Rasheed Al Maraj, CBB Governor, said: “The introduction of Bahrain OBF is a continuation of the CBB’s efforts in developing the local ecosystem to encourage innovation in banking, whilst providing customers with advanced services that keep pace with the development witnessed by the global banking industry, and will also assist emerging Fintech companies to work competitively. This is in line with the CBB’s vision with regards to digital transformation and paving the way for innovation and attracting Fintechs.”
Mr. Yousef Al Fadhel, Executive Director – Corporate Services at the CBB and Chairman of Bahrain OBF Committee, also commented, saying: “The framework was developed and customized specifically for Bahrain, based on other jurisdictions’ experiences and in line with the strategic vision of the CBB, with the ultimate objective of facilitating better services at lower costs with better choices for banking customers. We are confident that this initiative will stimulate innovation further, which will in turn reinforce the Kingdom’s position as a pioneering and innovative financial services center.”