BAFT, the leading global financial services association for international transaction banking, has launched a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) council to address the needs and priorities of banks in the region and to implement best practices in MENA bank operations. The BAFT MENA Council, which had its inaugural meeting recently in Dubai at the Emirates NBD headquarters, will serve as a vehicle for collaboration across banks and non-bank stakeholders in transaction banking in the region.
Similar to other BAFT regional councils, the group will aggregate common issues and collaborate on thought leadership, solutions to shared challenges, and policy advocacy on behalf of the industry.
The BAFT MENA Council was organized with significant assistance from Sunil Rao, Head of Financial Institutions at Barclays Corporate Banking division. Commenting on the launch of the BAFT MENA council, Sunil stated: “We are glad to support the launch of the BAFT MENA council, as it is a global platform that allows key banking stakeholders to address global issues and concerns and drive thought leadership in the industry. The MENA Council allows regional banks to leverage their experience of the region and shape documents, policies and decisions affecting them.”
“BAFT and the MENA Council members look forward to working together on critical issues facing the region’s banking industry,” said Tod Burwell, BAFT President and CEO. “Together, we can create a stronger, safer and more innovative environment for MENA banks to operate.''
The council's objectives and priorities include regulatory awareness and harmonization, as well as representation of MENA banks in global topics, particularly de-risking and compliance.
The council’s members represent a range of countries from the MENA region and will be led by co-chairs Maurice Iskandar, head of international at Banque Libano-Francaise and Faisal Lalani, executive vice president and head of international and institutional banking at Emirates NBD.
“I believe the council's actions and cooperation on a global scale will be beneficial to both the MENA banks and the correspondents who are active in the region,” said Lalani. “I look forward to helping the BAFT MENA Council promote a culture of compliance and anti-terrorism finance.”
“I’m proud to work alongside such a high level group of people to expand the reach of BAFT and elevate the profile of MENA banks,” Iskandar added.
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