Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain,

tells Oxford Business Group

Bahrain’s competitive advantages in the financial services industry and the key role earmarked for Fin Tech Bay as a driver of new growth were among the topics explored by Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO, National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), in a wide-ranging video interview he gave recently to Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.

In this production, which is now available to view in full at, Durand said that the kingdom of Bahrain had been able to maintain its position as a regional financial services hub thanks to a combination of factors, which ranged from its strategic location to the east of Saudi Arabia and stringent regulatory framework to a well-trained and capable workforce.

However, he also acknowledged that with the financial services sector in the midst of transition, keeping ahead of new developments was critical to future success. “Its financial services are currently changing in terms of regulations, technology, and in terms of the appetites of our clients,” he told viewers. “So, to remain a leader, we need to adapt.”

Durand described the decision to set up Fin Tech Bay in 2018 as “a very smart move”, adding that the hub would support Bahrain’s efforts to position itself as a centre for excellence in the segment.

“One of the strategic directions of the government, supported by the Bahrain Economic Development Board, but also the regulator, is the technological developments in the banking industry,” he noted. “The creation of Fin Tech Bay is a key element because it will not only create local expertise, but it will attract foreign entrepreneurs in this area.”

In the production, Durand also highlighted the potential that online retail giant Amazon’s decision to open an office in Bahrain offered lenders in terms of making use of cloud services.

“The installation of Amazon in Bahrain has opened the eyes of many of the bankers here,” he told Global Platform. “The National Bank of Bahrain, for example, is already considering engaging with Amazon to transfer certain operations to the cloud.”

Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said that the video featuring Durand from NBB offered a fascinating insight into the steps Bahrain was taking to retain its status as a centre for financial services in a fast-changing and competitive environment.

“The sector’s efforts to meet changing customer demands by focusing on new technological products and attract fintech investors from farther afield will be of interest to both industry players and the broader global business community eyeing Bahrain’s opportunities,” he said. “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to share Jean-Christophe Durand’s observations with viewers on these and other key developments in this important component of Bahrain’s economy.”

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