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06 August 2019

Building a digital future

Shaheen Al Ghanem, CEO of Warba Bank, tells Banker Middle East about its recently launched digital factory and how it facilitates a long-term digital future for the bank.


Tell us more about Warba Bank’s digital journey.

In 2017, we set a five-year strategy for the bank and we have been able to achieve a series of objectives, such as profitability growth, offering pioneering services to customers while continuing to build a corporate franchise, setting up the bank’s digital banking capabilities, and careful expansion. According to our strategy, we are glad to say that Warba Bank is steadily moving into a new era of development and innovation in enhancing its digital structure.

This is the result of a number of achievements that the bank has accomplished over the past years, by injecting investments to keep abreast in the technological era to cater to growing customer demands in digital banking services, in a time where smart phones have become virtual banks for customers enabling them to undertake several banking transactions smoothly, safely and easily.

We have been able to complete the first phase of the strategic change which resulted in development of sales and profitability structure. In 2018, the Bank started the second phase of its strategy, which focuses on strengthening its digital capabilities and making every possible effort to compete innovatively to catch up with the global trend in the banking industry.

This deliberate approach enables the bank to overcome competition in the retail banking sector by providing distinctive digital services that can hit the target effectively.

How do you envision the bank's future?

Today, Warba Bank is firmly determined in its approach towards enhancing and driving digital transformation into the banking sector in accordance with the highest international standards, paving the way for its leading position in this sector.

We have launched the first digital factory of its kind in the banking industry in Kuwait called “Al Wateen”, which is a digital centre based on teamwork and cooperation across the bank's departments and groups for digital innovation.

At the digital factory, we apply the customer-centric approach, placing customer interest as top priority, drawing our focus and attention to provide them with top-notch, fast, reliable and secure services and proactively meet customer needs.

As a CEO, what challenges have you encountered in your digital transformation exercise?

Challenges accompanied our journey since inception, but we were on the level to overcome them. Since the beginning, Warba Bank’s main focus has been to introduce a new era in the Islamic banking industry.  Emerging from Kuwait, the bank aims to serve every Kuwaiti on homeland and embarked on its journey facing all the challenges and economic difficulties that plagued the region at that time.

Warba Bank went on its journey with determination and perseverance driven by its responsibility towards shareholders and clients whose confidence and trust formed the solid base and motivation for the bank to launch innovative services, products and solutions, which have become exemplary for the Islamic banking industry in Kuwait.

Thus, the 10- year journey of hard work enabled Warba Bank to become one of the leading banks in Kuwait and is the fastest growing bank in the country’s banking sector. With that said, despite all challenges, today, Warba Bank is firmly determined in its approach towards enhancing and driving digital transformation into the banking sector in accordance with the highest international standards, paving the way for its leading position in this sector.

What led to your decision to develop Al Wateen?

How do you see this as an enabler for digital sustainability within the bank? Under the slogan “One of You”, Warba Bank is at the forefront of its concerns that Al Wateen should be the source of inspiration to the entire Kuwaiti community from which it has emerged.

Each Kuwaiti is a shareholder at Warba, which increases the bank’s responsibility to care for each person of the society and establish strong communication channels with all, while meeting all requirements of digital banking services that draw the future of this vital sector. At the digital factory, we apply the customer-centric approach prioritising customer interest, to provide them with top-notch, fast, reliable and secure services and realise their needs.

We can say that Al Wateen is the reliable driver towards our future, through which the bank’s team aims to challenge the traditional banking industry and infuse digital life into the sector, to benefit the customers and create communication channels amongst customers and their surroundings.

It is set to be an important source of inspiration for everyone interacting with Warba Bank, whether customer, employee or shareholder. Al Wateen is the first application of its kind to offer solutions that solidify relations with customers. The new application has been designed to give customers an enjoyable journey through using its feature. 

The application secures easy and versatile access to many services that enables the customer to perform transactions quickly and easily.

What are your views on the economic climate and banking sector in Kuwait?

The opportunities of the Kuwaiti economy are promising to achieve further development in the light of the positive macroeconomic indicators and the achieved growth in GDP both in the oil and non-oil sectors, in addition to monetary and financial stability, and the flexibility of the banking sector confirmed by capital adequacy ratios, profitability indicators and improved asset quality. We do expect more growth in the banking industry in light of Kuwait’s Development Plan which will create more investments’ and  jobs’ opportunities.





CPI Financial was established in Dubai in 1999 to meet the needs of an ever-expanding financial community, offering a comprehensive portfolio of market-leading products and services tailor-made for the banking and financial services sectors.

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