BIT2023: Banking, fintech co-create larger ecosystem, build strong foundation

Event, in its maiden showcase, will display how banks and fintechs can coexist


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 5:47 PM

Last updated: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 8:32 PM

Get ready to be acquainted with the Who’s who of banking and fintech fraternity of the UAE over two consecutive days next week on November 15 and November 16. Khaleej Times is all set to bring in the star performers of the sector at its annual conference Banking Innovation and Technology Summit 2023 (BIT2023) previously known as DigiBank.

The event will provide fresh insights of an evolving phase of co-creation and co-innovation with banking and fintech sectors across the region.

BIT2023 offers an industry platform to some of the leading bankers, fintech innovators and policy makers who are actively engaged in catering to the needs of this consumer-driven economy in today’s world order. While banks continue to cater to larger macro population, fintechs are actively identifying new trends catering to the GENZ.

The growing support of the government too was proved with the latest Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) launch of a VC fund worth Dh500 million ($136 million) for fintech start-ups.

The fund, called Oraseya Capital, will invest in start-ups from pre-Seed stage to Series B. One of the fund’s core objectives is to address the existing gaps in corporate finance. The initiative is geared towards facilitating the global expansion aspirations of start-ups and making investments in cutting-edge technology.

Domain to disruption to innovation

The confluence between bankers and fintech community is evident in this market as talented bankers turn venture capitalist or mentors to fintech start-ups. The region’s ability to attract huge investments at a global level and as a destination in itself that ignites innovation among organisations and communities in the region, makes UAE a hot spot for 24 per cent of all Mena’s fintech players.

BIT2023 in its maiden showcase will display how banks and fintechs can coexist to work together contributing to the new trends towards building a more value driven customer centric products and services. The event will be launched in Riyadh next year to capture the trend in Saudi Arabia, followed by an Edition Qatar and wider Middle East.

The summit by KT Events therefore is one of its kind, promising strong content, thought leadership, brand engagement opportunities for the leaders in the community, backed by Khaleej Times across its print, digital and social media assets.

Hosted in partnership with WeValue, along with support from Fintech Tuesdays and endorsed by UAE Banking Federation, the headline sponsor for BIT2023 is Emirates NBD, one of the leading banks in the region, boasting presence in 13 countries, serving over 20 million customers. As at September 30, 2023, total assets were Dh836 billion, (equivalent to approx. $228 billion).

Marwan Hadi, Group Head, Retail Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD, said, “As a leading digital-first bank in the region, technology and innovation have remained core pillars in our journey over the years, propelling us towards pioneering numerous first-to-market solutions and innovations for our valued customers. Being lead partners of Khaleej Times’ Banking Innovation and Technology Summit 2023 enables us to lend our support, expertise and insight to the exciting developments ahead for banking innovation in the region.”

Sponsors also include airpay as Lead, Mashreq as Digital Sponsor, Collinson as Loyalty Partner, and Standard Chartered, Al Fardan Exchange, Al Ansari Exchange, Icogz as Associate Sponsors. The Knowledge Partner of the event is Mckinsey and Company and Networking Partner is Credentek.

Airpay which has made foray into the Middle East is very keen on boosting its footprint in the region. Kunal Jhunjhunwala, Founder and Managing Director, airpay, said: “We are thrilled to extend our Made in India technology to the global stage with our official entry into the UAE. With our entry into the region, we are not just introducing cutting-edge technology to the banking sector but also solidifying our position in the global financial arena. Our omnichannel platform is a testament to our dedication to improving accessibility, convenience, and security in financial transactions. We aim to set new standards in the industry, showcasing our unwavering commitment to driving innovation and shaping the future of banking worldwide.”

Jhunjhunwala further added: “I extend my gratitude to the UAE government for their unwavering support and confidence in our capacity to provide a sustainable, digital-first financial empowerment ecosystem. As a strategic partner, we are dedicated to assisting the UAE in realizing its vision of a digitally inclusive payment landscape, evolving into a robust digital-first financial services ecosystem.”

Endorsing similar views, Vivek Uberio, Head of Trading Companies at Mashreq, said: “We're thrilled to be part of BIT2023 and engage in insightful conversations on the transformative evolution of banking and fintech in our region. With the ongoing shift towards digitisation in the financial landscape, we stand committed to driving advanced solutions that empower our customers to take charge of their financial wellbeing. Join us at BIT2023 to shape the future of banking and explore the limitless possibilities of fintech as we continue to lead the way in technology and innovation.”

Customer loyalty as a topic will gain prime importance over two-days as the UAE’s banking and fintech sector face challenge to retain existing customers and attracts new ones.

Priyanka Lakhani, senior vice-president commercial, EMEA, Collinson, said: “Collinson is thrilled to participate in this year’s Banking Innovation and Technology Summit. As a global leader in the provision of airport experiences, loyalty, and customer engagement solutions we are actively reshaping customer loyalty in partnership with banks, emphasising the importance of enhancing the customer experience. Banks should integrate loyalty programmes into their core banking apps and embrace a holistic loyalty approach, leveraging data to provide tailored rewards for everyday spending. This exciting era of technology is driving the payment and travel industries to craft seamless, integrated strategies that powerfully engage and retain customers.”

The innovative trends have compelled the sector to find new, ambitious talents, which will be highlighted in a HR Panel titled “Winning the War for Future Ready Talent in Banking & FinTech”.

The first-day of BIT2023 will also have a presentation on Generative AI. The cross-border payments panel titled “Payments and Remittances in the GCC: Emerging Trends and Opportunities” will host top regional brands like Al Ansari; Al Fardan and MasterCard.

"In today's rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever for the financial sector to embrace innovation and technology. BIT2023 is the perfect platform to engage with industry leaders, exchange insights, and delve into the transformative technologies shaping the future of the industry," said Mohammad Bitar Deputy Group CEO, Al Ansari Financial Services.

"I am committed to driving innovation and transformation in the organisation. I am excited to participate in BIT2023 and to share my insights on the use of technology to better serve customers and stay ahead of the competition. Our commitment to innovation is unwavering, and this is a unique opportunity to discuss and collaborate on strategies that will redefine the financial landscape," added Bitar.

The Day-1 panel also focuses on credit card panel titled “Imitation to Innovation - Curating Customer-Centric Credit Card Strategies to Enhance Value and Engagement”. The session brings top players together ENBD, Mastercard, CBD and FAB.

With a combination of robust government support, a flourishing start-up ecosystem, and a tech-savvy population, the UAE’s fintech sector has thrived in 2023, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2024. The sector has seen prominent growth drivers like investment influx; regulatory advancements; expanding fintech ecosystem and increased adoption of digital payments.

Amit Tripathi, Founder Icogz, a business intelligence platform of the future, said: “We are honoured to collaborate with BIT2023 to provide essential data-driven insights that empower decision-makers in the financial industry. Our deep expertise in financial analytics and cutting-edge tools ensure that attendees gain a competitive edge in today’s dynamic market. By fostering innovation, driving informed strategies, and enabling financial excellence, we are dedicated to supporting the success of this event. Together, we aim to navigate the complex financial landscape, identify opportunities, and chart a course towards a prosperous future.”

BIT2023 will be a testament of banking and fintech collaboration and innovations that will gather over 200+ delegation from the regional ecosystem, sharing their fresh insights over two days, who will chalk the road ahead for BIT2024.

To register your participation at BIT, visit

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