The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has granted a banking licence to digital banking firm Zand.

With the UAE banking authorisation, the digital bank can now operate as a fully independent commercial bank.

Zand, which is led by a team of technologists and bankers, is said to be the first digital bank to offer both retail and corporate banking services.

Initially, Zand will leverage its partnerships with regional and international companies to offer banking services to corporate customers.

Meanwhile, the digital bank will also prepare to launch its retail banking services.

Currently, Zand’s offerings include a range of products aimed at enhancing the banking experience such as fast account opening and automated loan approvals.

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Zand chairman HE Mohamed Alabbar said: “We are thrilled that Zand has reached another milestone and is now a fully licenced bank. Today’s announcement represents yet another excellent example of the UAE’s pioneering vision of having progressive regulations that drive fintech innovation.”

“With a UAE banking licence, we look forward to commencing our innovative banking services and contributing to the UAE’s legacy of innovation as well as economic growth.”

The announcement comes after the formation of Zand’s board of directors.

Zand co-founder and CEO Olivier Crespin said: “Zand’s corporate offerings will be made available to our customers incrementally. We look forward to revealing our full innovative banking services and expanding them to key sectors of the UAE economy.”