The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has instructed all retail banks and financial institutions to adopt the requirements and guidelines issues for the second phase of the Bahrain Open Banking Framework (Bahrain OBF) by June 30 of the following year.

The Kingdom’s central bank successfully launched the first phase of the Bahrain OBF in May of last year. The CBB has established rules and standards for the following services in its most recent circular:

•Sharing Open Data (publicly available data such as ATM locator, Branch Locator, etc.)

•Domestic Standing Orders

•International Standing Orders

•International Future Dated Payments

•Bulk/Batch Payment 

Through digital online and mobile channels, the Bahrain OBF aims to expand the reach and quality of retail bank services. This strategy is part of a greater effort to strengthen Bahrain’s financial sector in order to remain competitive in the midst of increased demand for connectivity in the financial services ecosystem.

In light of shifting consumer habits, the Bahrain OBF will assist in fostering competition and improving the financial system’s efficiency. APIs, customer experience guidelines, cyber security standards, and other related operational standards are all included in the framework.

Yousef Al Fadhel, CBB Executive Director (Corporate Services), said: “The new directives of the second phase of the Bahrain OBF will provide an opportunity for retail banks and financial institutions to provide a wider range of services with greater efficiency, at lower costs and in a more customer-centric manner.

This will further enhance the competition and efficiency of the financial system keeping in view changing consumer trends, and expedite the transformation towards a digital economy on a wider scale,” he added.