Middle East Digital Lending Summit

The recently concluded inaugural edition of the Middle East Digital Lending Summit last December 6, 2022, at Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, promised to open a potential opportunity for transformation and change the game in the financial sector when it comes to lending.

The successful day-long event was braced with the presence of some of the industry's key decision-makers from the consumer, commercial, and corporate lending spaces, such as CXOs, Heads of Lending, Wealth, Risk, Digital, and Investments, and there were others from the Commercial Finance, Alternative Finance, and Mortgage Finance sectors.

The Middle East Digital Lending Summit 2022 featured a robust line-up of regional and international thought leaders from the financial and technology sectors as they generously shared their insights, wisdom, and knowledge on the transformation of the lending industry in the region that is being cultivated and changing the atmosphere.

Ajmair Riaz, Head Transformation- CPB Africa, the Middle East, and Europe at Standard Chartered Bank, kicked off the summit with his unique insights. Indeed, Ajmair was true to his word when he said that "leadership in any bank plays an important role in digital transformation, that leadership creates a big difference, and if you want to step up into the digital space, then first, change the mindset, and then, of course, everything will follow," in addressing the question from one of the delegates.

Fares Kobeissi, Chief Executive Officer at Bluering, discussed some key points and solutions to the global credit scoring challenges that financial institutions, particularly banks, have encountered. One of the essential points he cited was that the main problem with financial organizations' expectations derived from the scoring system. He added that "it is undeniable that we, as an economic organization, have faced some issues with the scoring, but we cannot survive without it, so we need to keep on going, and we need to keep on looking on the best way to improve the productivity and to implement a proper insight."

The panel discussions were some of the main highlights of the Middle East Digital Lending Summit 2022; the discussions cultivated and opened up some important issues around the financial and tech revolutions regarding lending processes. One intriguing panel was when Danny Abla, Founder & CEO of Bankiom, returned on stage as a moderator and stirred up the conversation with the other remarkable panelists, particularly Suresh Lalwani, Managing Director and Head of Coverage, Commercial Banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank. Later, Danny brought up an urban myth that banks were not giving out loans to companies that had not performed well in business for at least three years. Suresh reiterated that the myth persists; in his disagreement, he added that even banks in the Middle East had accelerated their provisions and were willing to finance as long as the business could demonstrate that it would be able to repay the lender.

Another panelist, Dheen Dorai, Head of DTO, Digital Architecture & Engineering at Al Masraf, commented on his insights about the future of lending and stated that "the organization should ensure that they understand and properly implement hyper-personalization."

The inaugural edition of the Middle East Digital Lending Summit was a success and started a new era of lending in the financial sector. It paved the way for the future of the digital lending scenario in the Middle East. Hearing some complimentary words from the delegates and speakers were nostalgic, like Gareema Kaaushik, Head of Product at YAP, who, in her interview with Verve Insider, said, "I don't see this as a networking event. I see this as an event where we learn, learn about other products, and learn from other people about how they are looking for certain activities, products, and solutions in the market today. The event also gave me insights on what I have missed in my line of work; it was an amazing event, and I loved it."

The presence of some event sponsors overwhelmed the summit, like the associate sponsor, Earnix, a solution provider that enables insurers and banks to provide faster, wiser, safer prices, and personalized products. The bronze sponsor, Bluering, a leading fintech company in the Middle East, specializes in delivering digital lending and credit risk management solutions to the banking sector.

The Middle East Digital Lending Summit 2022 is an initiative by Verve Management, supported by Al Etihad Credit Bureau. Verve Management, the organizer, would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all the attendees and those who supported the event.