Historic news out of the Middle East leads off our international fintech coverage this week on Finovate Global. Israel’s AI-powered transaction monitoring innovator ThetaRay has been selected by the UAE’s Mashreq Bank to help ensure secure cross-border transfers for its correspondent banking business.
The partnership marks the first time that an Israel-based fintech company has teamed up with a financial institution from the UAE. The collaboration was made possible by the historic Abraham Accords, signed in the fall of 2020, which normalized relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.
“Mashreq Bank is our first customer in the UAE,” ThetaRay CEO Mark Gazit said. “We look forward to accelerating collaboration with additional financial institutions in the UAE and the entire Middle East, as part of the continued expansion of ThetaRay’s global reach.”
Making its Finovate debut in 2015, ThetaRay offers banks and financial payment providers the ability to detect anomalies in multiple data sets, regardless of size or source. This makes the company’s cloud-based, SaaS AI analytics platform is especially effective in monitoring cross-border payments, an area that has become increasingly vulnerable to financial crime – including money laundering – in recent years. ThetaRay estimates that the cross-border payments market will grow from $37.15 trillion in 2020 to nearly $40 trillion by 2026, potentially attracting an even greater number of fraudsters and thieves.
“ThetaRay’s technology, underpinned by advanced machine-learning based models complementing rules, sets the foundation for next-generation transaction monitoring,” Mashreq Bank’s Group Head of Compliance and Bank MLRO Scott Ramsay said. “By combining speed and agility with efficiency, it allows banks to effectively thwart financial crime risks in the increasingly complex space of cross-border payments.”
A leading MENA-area financial institution, Mashreq Bank is the oldest privately owned bank in the UAE, founded in 1967 as the Bank of Oman. Last fall, the bank announced a partnership with Visa to develop a new digital reconciliation platform for business expense tracking. Mashreq Bank was also the first regional bank to launch an API developer portal, going live with the platform back in October. A month later, the institution reported a net profit of $72 million (AED 265 million) for the nine months ending September 30th.
“Mashreq’s advanced digital transformation program has continued to deliver outstanding service to customers throughout the nine months ending 30th September 2021,” Group CEO Ahmed Abdelaal said. He highlighted the role of digital platforms in supporting the bank’s growth, and embraced the “development of a diverse, inclusive, and enabling working environment” courtesy of Mashreq’s adoption of a “work from anywhere culture.”
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Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
Central and Eastern Europe
Middle East and Northern Africa
Central and Southern Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean