“Phygital”? LuLu Exchange launches open banking solution in UAE

Rick Steves

LuLu Financial Group has partnered with UAE-based platform bank Wio Bank to allow Wio Business customers to make account deposits through the LuLu network of branches.

This marks the launch of LuLu Exchange’s open banking service – allowing it to embed banking services with its existing fintech capabilities – following the group’s efforts to diversify the scope of financial services provided by the company.

LuLu Exchange has activated only cash deposit service, with cash withdrawal set to be launched soon. The company aims to onboard more financial institutions looking for an open banking solution either for retail or corporate customers.

A “phygital” experience for customers in the UAE

Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director of LuLu Financial Group, said: “We are excited to partner with Wio to introduce a “phygital” experience for customers in the UAE. As early adopters of open banking, our enablement platform now equips us to partner seamlessly with financial institutions that want to design hyper-local customer experiences. Our partnership with Wio is a real-world use case of how our fintech capabilities combined with our network can BETTER serve customers across the financial ecosystem.”

Wio Business is the bank’s first digital banking application that enables freelancers and SMEs seamless access to business banking services.

Prateek Vahie, Chief Commercial Officer at Wio Bank, commented: “At Wio, we seek to simplify banking so customers can focus on managing their business instead. We are pleased to partner with Lulu Exchange and leverage their vast network in the UAE to help Wio Business customers deposit and withdraw funds conveniently. With this new provision, we expect to further improve access for customers and in turn, transform the banking sector in the country.”

LuLu Exchange is also adept of blockchain

Besides open banking, LuLu Exchange has also made great progress in terms of blockchain technology in recent years, with the presence of high-rank executives on the board of directors, including Richard Teng, who is a board member at the Blockchain Association Singapore and the Global Fintech Institute.

Richard Teng was CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) until March 2021. In August, he accepted Binance’s offer to become Chief Executive Officer of Binance Singapore.

The industry veteran has had a long career in financial markets and compliance, having spent more than a decade at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

LuLu Exchange has recently partnered with Pakistan-headquartered Bank Alfalah to use the RippleNet platform in order to enhance cross border remittance payments from the UAE to Pakistan. The Pakistani diaspora in the United Arab Emirates constitutes 15% of the population, a figure that easily shows how badly needed is such a service.

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