ENHANCING SERVICES FOR ALL

Kuwait 2019 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Through a broad array of information, specialized committees, staff expertise, and other resources, KBA supports Kuwait's banks as they perform their critical role in energizing the economy and helping communities thrive.

Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed
BIOGRAPHY
Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed has been at the helm of Boubyan Bank as Vice Chairman and CEO since 2009, achieving remarkable success in the Islamic banking industry. He first joined NBK in 1985 and saw his career progress from Executive Manager to AGM, DGM of Consumer Banking, GM of Consumer Banking Group, and Deputy CEO, before taking the leadership position at Boubyan Bank. He graduated from the University of Alexandria with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and attended various management training programs at prestigious universities including Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford.

How does KBA seek to improve labor conditions in the banking sector?

As technology transforms the nature of work, incumbents should not lose sight of upskilling their talent. Training employees to work with and, more importantly, supervise advanced technology platforms could become critical in a world marked by an accelerated speed of computing and growing sophistication of cyber attacks. Thus, banks are keen and continuously strive to support and empower their employees by providing training and development programs designed in line with the highest academic and professional standards through international training centers or the Institute of Banking Studies in Kuwait (IBS). Based on KBA's objective to improve the professional, cultural, and social levels of the association members' employees, KBA organizes seminars and specialized technical workshops on current banking topics to provide training and development opportunities, aiming to enhance the banking profession. With the full support of local banks, IBS runs several successful training programs ranging from providing new graduates with the practical knowledge to work in the banking sector and maintain cyber and data security, to offering master's degree scholarships at leading international universities in all fields related to the banking industry. IBS ran 257 programs in 2017/2018, reaching 5,350 trainees.

How is KBA collaborating with banks and local institutions in order to act against fraud?

With the growing excitement around technology and innovation in banking, there is a growing risk as well. This puts pressure on Kuwaiti banks to put cyber and data security at the top of their agendas and make sure to not only invest in technology and digitization, but also to pay attention to the risks associated with this emerging trend. The banks are committed to all the necessary precautions required by the Central Bank of Kuwait; they also use the latest equipment to counter card fraud and update all software immediately and continuously while promoting awareness of cyber threats and the vulnerabilities associated with cyberspace usage. As well as following best practices in the field of cybersecurity and applying the best protection systems, KBA also pays great attention to empowering the knowledge and education of society, providing customers with information on the cyber risks they are exposed to and the required protection tools and techniques for cyberspace-connected financial information. Under this objective, KBA has a specialized committee composed of representatives from the local banks that discusses the latest and most important developments in this field. The committee is held in coordination with the Central Bank of Kuwait.

What initiatives has KBA taken to enhance the service banks give to their clients and build trust in the system?

Financial literacy has become a key life skill for individuals as well as micro and small businesses. We are convinced that new technologies can present huge opportunities, though we need to always be aware that, if unchecked, they can be equally destructive. For the benefit of customers, KBA cooperates with the Central Bank of Kuwait to implement a national strategy for customer awareness. The strategy includes several instruments to develop and implement a wide range of financial education activities to meet the needs of different ages and social segments through programs dedicated to several major sectors of society, for both men and women. The strategy focuses on many topics, including protection against cybercrime, banking services for special needs people, the settlement of loans and damages resulting from such practices, the rationalization of consumer and installment finance, and the mechanism for complaints and grievances. In addition, KBA has launched SMS and social media campaigns to protect customers against payment-related fraud, focusing on the drawbacks of cards double swiping on point-of-sale (POS) devices, as well as the Security Week campaign, launched in cooperation with VISA international and aimed at empowering consumers to protect themselves from fraud and build consumer trust in electronic payments. KBA also holds lectures for students at universities and schools regarding a variety of banking topics to improve and increase the level of consumer banking awareness.