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Co-Creating a Neobank From the Ground Up with a Middle Eastern Financial Innovator

Banking, Financial Services & Insurance

Co-Creating a Neobank From the Ground Up with a Middle Eastern Financial Innovator

Co-Creating a Neobank From the Ground Up with a Middle Eastern Financial Innovator

Success Story

Scalefocus and an innovation-driven financial company operating in the Middle East partnered to build a neobank from scratch in a highly competitive market that is fast emerging as a global FinTech hub. Our team’s involvement was instrumental in building the solution that boasts exceptional UX, highly sought-after mobile payment features and top-tier security.

Customer-centric digital-only banking solution

In-demand easy-to-
use mobile banking features

Top-of-the-line data
and infrastructure architecture

The Client

Our client is a trailblazing financial institution in the Gulf working towards democratizing online banking in the region. The company provides digital banking services that suit modern users’ lifestyles and meet organizations’ enterprise banking needs. As customer behavior and expectations continue to evolve, our client’s mission is to create connected digital experiences by taking the lead in navigating the flourishing start-up and innovation culture in the Middle East.

The Challenge

Over the last few years, the number of digital consumers in the Middle East has been increasing rapidly. There are multiple factors involved, but the region’s excellent internet, the high smartphone penetration, and the fact that over 50% of the local population is under 25 are among the top drivers of the demand for digital banking in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Vision 2030, the country’s strategy for economic diversification and improved competitiveness, is establishing a sustainable private sector with high value-added businesses, including the creation of new business domains such as FinTech. The underlying goal is to increase Saudi Arabia’s share of non-oil exports together with the private sector’s contribution to GDP from 40% to 65%. Since these ambitious goals have been set within a tight timeframe, the state is actively encouraging all forms of entrepreneurship, including digital banking. Overall business enablers, such as digitization, are seen as crucial towards achieving these objectives.   

In this dynamic context, our client set out to build a radically different bank that is app-based and designed specifically as a value-adding asset to modern Middle Eastern customers’ daily lives. As a top-tier technology provider and a FinTech industry expert, Scalefocus was among the primary vendor choices our client considered. Our track record of building digital-only banking solutions in the region was what made Scalefocus the best partner in co-creating a mobile-first banking app that goes beyond the delivery of fully digital capabilities. The single most important goal of the project was to offer a product that solves problems, treats users fairly and is completely transparent. 

The Solution

A key differentiator between our client and other FinTech players in the region is the realization that offering the right digital banking experience involves more than simply building or implementing software. In a market that is still relatively skeptical to digital products, our team, in collaboration with the client’s other tech units, worked systematically to provide easy-to-use features allowing users to save time and effort as they go about their daily banking. To ensure a focus on innovation and productivity through autonomy, communication, and accountability, we adopted the Spotify model to scale agile. We also provided strong consultancy services and Scalefocus team members occupied key lead positions contributing to the client’s architecture strategy and talent management. Additionally, our experts played a leading role in the certification of the solution with the local financial authorities, as well as in obtaining payment processing and data security certifications.

Since payments are an essential component of digital banking and are at the heart of delivering comprehensive digital journeys, the project’s initial focus was on building payment features that give complete flexibility in personal finance management. We worked on making it possible for users to create accounts in minutes, send and receive funds with just a few clicks and cover their utility expenses frictionlessly. The client worked with 15 squads, and Scalefocus provided experts in Onboarding, Core Banking, Payments, Cards, Regulation, and Fraud.

  • Technologically, our team was involved in the co-creation of the fully digital bank with dedicated development teams and experts in the areas of Mobile, Backend, Automation, DevSecOps, Big Data DevOps, Data Engineering, PSO, and Architecture;
  • We performed complete rework of the client’s Android and iOS frameworks, managed the data pipelines and visualized their dependencies, progress, logs, code, trigger tasks, and success status;
  • Our data team was involved in the research of a PoC and was then responsible for its final development after approval;
  • Worked with Apache Airflow to manage the data pipelines and to visualize their dependencies, progress, logs, code, trigger tasks, and success status.

The Results

According to the IMF, the Middle East enjoys a significant demographic advantage as a third of the population is under 30. This calls for the expansion of products and services that cater to new online-only demands. The region’s embrace of mobile technology gives it potential as a market for digital financial products and ambitious FinTech players are already taking advantage of these opportunities.

Amid fierce competition, our client and Scalefocus co-created a highly user friendly digital-only banking solution in under a year. In a market that is still relatively skeptical to digital products, we helped build a customer-centric mobile banking app offering personalized and accessible banking services that will be instrumental in the Middle East’s shift towards a digital infrastructure.  

  • Customer-centric digital-only banking solution setting a high standard for emerging players in the region
  • In-demand mobile banking features and an end-to-end seamless customer experience on any device regardless of hardware capabilities
  • Specialized code generator feature as a standalone solution that speeds up time to market
  • Smooth Bank Certification: the Scalefocus experts played a key role in the bank’s certification process



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