Middle East

ADQ-backed digital bank gets UAE central bank approval for launch

DUBAI, Feb 11 (Reuters) – The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has given in-principle approval to a new digital banking platform, backed by state holding company ADQ, to launch operations, ADQ said on Friday.

The move comes after a neobank backed by Dubai-based YAP, the first independent digital banking platform in the UAE, was launched last year.

Some UAE banks have in recent years launched their own digital banking offerings targeted at digitally-savvy and younger users, such as LIV by Emirates NBD and Mashreq Neo by Mashreq Bank.

ADQ and investment holding company Alpha Dhabi (ALPHADHABI.AD) will own a combined 65% stake in the bank called “Wio”.

Other shareholders are UAE’s telecoms operator Etilasat (ETISALAT.AD), which will own 25%, and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD), with a 10% stake, it said.

The total invested capital in Wio is 2.3 billion dirhams ($626.26 million) plus in-kind contribution.

Wio will soon launch a beta version that will initially serve small and medium-sized businesses, ADQ said.

($1 = 3.6726 UAE dirham)

Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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