NBB Group to Migrate its SWIFT System to Amazon Web Services

9th February 2021

The National Bank of Bahrain Group announced that it is the first bank in the MENA region to have partnered with Allied Engineering Group (AEG), one of the largest worldwide SWIFT Service Bureaus with banks from over 65 countries worldwide connected to its data centres, to migrate the Bank’s international remittance system (SWIFT) to Amazon Web Service cloud (AWS).  This marks as an important step towards transforming how NBB Group is positioning the cloud at the centre of their digital transformation roadmap.  This is in line with the Government of Bahrain’s cloud adoption strategy. The move will open the door for other financial institutions in Bahrain and the MENA region to follow suit and will help streamline systems, increase service availability, and reduce costs, with the highest levels of security. 

The partnership between NBB Group and AEG enables the SWIFT migration to the latter’s expanded certified SWIFT infrastructure hosted on AWS, leveraging the local presence of its regional data centres located within the Kingdom of Bahrain. 

A virtual signing ceremony between NBB Group and AEG was held on the 28th of January 2021. The ceremony was attended by Razi Amin, NBB Head of Information Technology, Ali AlSaegh, NBB Head of IT security and Nabeel Mustafa, NBB Head of Network Management and Strategy, and Osama Nasr, Chief Information Officer at Bahrain Islamic Bank and were joined virtually by Mohamed Sanad, Head of AEG Bahrain and Ahmed Al-Sawafiri, Strategic Accounts Lead at Amazon Web Services.

Razi Amin, Head of Information Technology at NBB, said: “It gives us great pleasure to take another strategic step towards realising our Group plans to take the lead as a key player in the region. The expansion resulting from our partnership with AEG and AWS ensures that NBB Group’s SWIFT systems are hosted and managed according to the highest information security levels in compliance with the adopted service availability levels, best practices and global standards. This migration will act as a strong foundation to activating a smoother service migration in the future and align NBB Group with the global technological shifts taking place in the sector.”

Osama Nasr, Chief Information Officer at Bahrain Islamic Bank, commented on the technical aspect of the partnership by adding: “Migrating SWIFT systems to cloud computing services has become a global story for strategic future stability, and by adopting the technological shift, we ensure the availability of a better service and an improved system that will enhance cost management and up-to-date technologies for our underlying IT infrastructure. The migration to AWS will efficiently reduce down time by enhancing streamlined systems, without affecting SWIFT operations. The move will also act as a roadmap towards integrating our informatics as a group, enhancing our overall performance, and will further help our Information Technology departments to focus on improving agility and help automate payment processes throughout our entire business operations.”

Mohamed Sanad, Head of AEG Bahrain, said: “As one of the largest worldwide SWIFT Service Bureaus, we are glad at AEG to see NBB Group taking this strategic direction towards migrating its SWIFT environment. We are pleased that NBB Group has joined AEG's extended SIP compliant Infrastructure on AWS, making them the first bank amongst all connected banks within the MENA region to benefit from this particular model."

He then added: "I believe that this migration will provide the bank with a robust compliance structure against respective information security frameworks covering all recommended practices, which will result in a reliable information security protection mechanism."

Ahmed Al-Sawafiri, Strategic Accounts Lead, Public Sector, Middle East and North Africa, AWS said: “NBB Group has been making great strides in its commitment towards innovation and digital transformation. The migration of its SWIFT systems to AWS will give it the highest standards of reliability and security so it can focus on bringing the best customer experiences, scale service offerings, and innovate at a much faster pace.” 

The National Bank Group’s recently announced Data Literacy programme will also leverage future technologies, such as data analytics and machine learning, which play a prominent role in the bank’s ultimate goal of becoming a digitally-reliant, automated organisation through building automated processes and data digitisation. 

NBB Group’s plan to ensure reliable, secure and audited setups is in line with its aim to maintain its focus on enhancing cross-border payment services, subsequently building a solid foundation to provide more services in the future that ensure feasibility, traceability and automation, as well as real-time message tracking for both its corporate and retail clients.