Dubai’s digital-only bank ‘Zand’ acquires banking licence from UAE’s Central Bank

The first digital bank of the Emirates, Zand, that strives to cater to retail and corporate customers, has been issued a banking licence from the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to become Zand Bank.

The first digital bank of the Emirates, Zand, that strives to cater to retail and corporate customers, has been issued a banking licence from the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates to become Zand Bank.

On Tuesday, 5 July, Zand said in a statement that after successfully securing a UAE banking licence, it is now legally authorised and regulated to function as a fully independent commercial bank.


The chairman of Zand, Mohamed Alabbar, said, “We are delighted that Zand has reached another milestone and is now a completely licensed bank, yet another perfect example of the UAE’s pioneering vision of having developed regulations that drive FinTech innovation.”

The upgrade of FinTech companies, a rising smartphone-savvy consumer base and a sharp rise in digital services have pushed banks globally to increasingly invest in digitisation and decrease the number of branches.

The concept of digital banks is getting traction in the UAE because of the rise of FinTech opportunities.

The corona pandemic, due to which the world witnessed lockdowns all over and hurried the move into digital services as clients switched to cashless payments and online shopping.

A few traditional financial institutions have already set up neobanks, with lenders like Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreq unveiling digital-forward operations and Emirates NBD via Hayyak, Liv and Mashreq Neo, respectively.

The biggest Sharia-compliant lender in the emirate, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, established a digital-only bank called Amwali in 2021.


Independent digital banks are also joining the market, including Al Maryah Community Bank, which got a licence from the UAE’s Central Bank in April 2021.

Zand offers corporates a various range of services such as easy onboarding and fast account opening and also an automated loan approval process to boost their digital banking experience. The lender further strives to launch personal banking solutions later this year and has also invited users to register their interest to become one of the first to experience Zand.

Tariq Saeed

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