(From right): Isam Al-Sager, Muthana Al-Hamad, Shaikha Al-Bahar and Haitham Al-Khaled

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait announced the launch of “Weyay”, the first fully digital bank in Kuwait, made in Kuwait for the youth of the country. “Weyay” was launched in an inauguration ceremony attended by a number of board members, as well as Isam Al-Sager, NBK Group CEO, Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO, Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait, Sulaiman Al-Marzouq, Deputy CEO of NBK- Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Othman, GM-Consumer Banking Group at NBK, alongside the presence of a select of the bank’s executive management and Kuwaiti tech industry leaders and influencers.

Digital future
Commenting on the launch, Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO stated: “Digital banks are the new normal course and are the new generation of transformations in the banking industry, especially in view of customers’ increasing reliability on digital services and financial apps provided by fintech, telecoms companies and some of the world’s leading technological corporates.”

Therefore, the launch of “Weyay” as the first digital bank in Kuwait reinforces NBK’s leadership position in digitizing banking services and its excellence as a provider of latest innovations and cutting-edge banking solutions. “All our strategies aim to be fully prepared for the future; with its anticipated evolvements, milestones that will be offered through huge opportunities and crises as well, as seen during the pandemic. Therefore, we started our digital journey years ago and set a road map to sustain our excellence and leadership locally and regionally,” she added.

Mohammed Al-Othman

The past period, demonstrated the success of NBK’s insightful and proactive vision in implementing the digital transformation strategy, developing its digital services and channels, and providing advanced and innovative payment solutions. “We have completed a chapter of our digital journey; during which we succeeded to build a solid technological infrastructure and created a digital culture that became embedded in all of our operations, products, and services. Now, we are starting a new chapter in which we continue to invest in developing our digital platforms and increase reliance on Artificial Intelligence (AI); out of our belief that digital advancement is the main driver of future growth across all the markets in which we operate,” Al-Bahar concluded.

Modern vision
On his part, Salah Al-Fulaij, CEO of NBK – Kuwait said: “Weyay” provides an array of innovative digital banking services and solutions designed by NBK youth cadres for the for their peers of Kuwaiti youth.” “Over the course of a whole year, we have provided all sorts of support to the Kuwaiti youth cadres, who tirelessly worked to design for us a modern integrated vision that meets the needs and aspirations of their peers with dynamic designs, ideas and services that suit their lifestyle,” Al-Fulaij continued.

“The Kuwaiti society has a vigorous nature, as two thirds of Kuwaitis are under the age of 34, and Kuwait has one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration rates in the world, making it a necessity to launch a new generation of digital services,” he added. Al-Fulaij explained: “The idea of founding “Weyay” was inspired by the desire to launch a non-traditional bank that embodies the youthful and digital-savvy nature of the Kuwaiti society and reflects the future of its banking needs and aspirations and the ability of NBK’s innovative banking solutions to meet them.”

“We are keen to offer our customers integrated banking products and services, and “Weyay” embodies this strategy as it provides financial engineering to the youth customers, where they can, through a single platform, take their financial and investment decisions and the banking solutions they need that can help them succeed in these decisions,” he noted. Al-Fulaij highlighted that updating “Weyay” services will be an ongoing process starting from the launch in order to meet customers’ needs.

Central Bank paved the way
Al-Fulaij stressed that the achievements we are witnessing today reflect the success of the Central Bank of Kuwait’s supportive policy for digital transformation in paving the way for a new digital era for the Kuwaiti banking sector. Thanks to its efforts that laid the foundations for a huge technological infrastructure and a clear framework for a regulatory environment that gave the Kuwaiti banking sector the precedence in launching advanced digital services on the regional level. We express our appreciation to the Central Bank of Kuwait for extending all sorts of support that saved time and effort in the course of launching “Weyay”, he said.

Fully youth-oriented
NBK conducted extensive research about the youth segment between the ages of 15 and 24 years. Data showed that the next generation of Kuwaiti youth has an independent and a highly ambitious personality, and therefore, the most advanced existing banking services only meet their minimum financial needs. “Weyay”, as the name suggests, would play the role of that catalyst in their lives.

80 percent of the youth customers are looking for tools that help them set personal saving goals and track their money. Many of those customers use external apps or methods outside of their regular banking app to achieve this. Therefore, through “Weyay”, the bank seek to provide an integrated package of advanced products and services that help the youth better track and organize their expenses, thus contributing to increasing their ability to accumulate savings, as well as provide them with the appropriate investment channels to grow these savings.

In designing “Weyay” products and services, NBK took into consideration that they suit the new bank’s digital character and the nature of its customers from the youth generation. Account opening is fully digitally without any of the usual paperwork. In Addition, the customer can choose the color of his card and can use it immediately, even before it is received, and money transfer is done in innovative ways that are much faster and easier.

A totally different digital bank
* “Weyay” will be a completely different digital bank with an independent and integrated character, largely resembling the Bank’s customers. It was designed to suit the vibrancy of the youth customers, featuring an appealing and user-friendly interface to access all services quickly and easily.

* “Weyay” is built on the latest security standards, including biometrics like Face ID that this smartphone generation trusts more than traditional passwords and methods of verification.

* “Weyay” is currently in beta, where a select group of initial users are actively using it and helping refine it, getting it ready for a group of users from the youth very soon.