On April 30, 2017, National Bank of Oman (NBO) announced the completion of a blockchain pilot for the use of international remittance. The pilot, which was launched by Commercial Bank in December 2016, is a part of a bigger initiative that involves NBO, ABank in Turkey, and United Arab Bank in the United Arab Emirates, as well as other banks in Egypt and India. As per NBO’s CEO, Ahmed al Musalmi, the technology places them a step ahead of the competition.
“NBO has always embraced the latest technologies to drive innovation across the sultanate. Blockchain is transforming the landscape across the financial services industry, and we are delighted to be the first bank in Oman to be taking the lead in testing this cutting-edge technology. As we fine-tune this service, we look forward to solidifying our position at the forefront of the country’s banking sector, and delivering more digital solutions that deliver a superior experience to our customers.”
Just one month earlier, Commercial Bank announced the completion of an initial pilot using a blockchain network to process international transfers with its regional alliance of banks. According to the Qatar Tribune, the blockchain network streamlines automation processes between banks by improving transaction speeds, accuracy, and security. In the next phase, Commercial Bank will focus on extending the use of blockchain technology to make it easier to exchange purchase orders and invoices by excluding paper trails and third party intermediaries.
Commercial Bank also reported that once it receives proper approvals from the Qatar Central Bank and other interested parties, it will extend the blockchain network to “high remittance” countries such as the UAE, the Philippines, Nepal, Egypt, and Pakistan in order to create “closed networks for cash.” According to Joseph Abraham, Commercial Bank CEO, the project will help to drive growth in throughout the Persian Gulf.
“With a deep knowledge of the local markets and the most substantial market share of the GCC fund transfer, we are well positioned to achieve further growth in the region. Commercial Bank is committed to bring best international practice in the money transfer industry to the region through continuously enhancing services, products and solutions to meet the increasing needs of our clients. Banks must continue to embrace new technologies to be able to create the type of banking our customers expect. That is why Commercial Bank is investing and creating partnerships to drive innovation.”