Wio Bank has announced the launch of its operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The platform bank is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi Development Company (ADQ), Alpha Dhabi Holding, Etisalat, and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB).

It has started operations with an initial capital of AED2.3bn ($626.18m).

The digital bank will offer banking services through digital banking apps, embedded finance and banking-as-a-service (BaaS) solutions.

Wio Bank CEO Jayesh Patel said: “We believe the next evolution of banking is a shift from traditional online banking and pure-play digital banks to that of platform banking and we are excited to launch Wio as the first platform bank in the region.

“Wio will focus on introducing state-of-the-art digital banking apps for customers and embedding financial services in digital businesses that are frequented by consumers. We will also provide a top-quality Banking-as-a-Service platform to fintechs and non-financial businesses to accelerate creation of innovative end-to-end customer solutions.”

Earlier this month, the digital lender also launched its digital banking application called Wio Business.

The app serves start-ups, freelancers, and small & medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing them access to banking services.

Wio Bank chairman of the board Salem Al Nuaimi said: “Wio Bank heralds the arrival of next-generation banking in the region that will enable customers to access banking services effortlessly while also allowing them to do more in their business and personal lives.”

In February this year, ADQ secured an in-principle approval from the central bank of the UAE to launch Wio.

The digital bank plans to expand its offerings in the coming months. It will launch a range of digital banking apps for retail and business customers and partner with digital businesses to offer its BaaS solutions.