Mashreq has launched electronic facial recognition (EFR) technology to facilitate the onboarding of large, corporate banking clients in the United Arab Emirates.

The oldest privately owned bank in the UAE said in a statement, this week, that it has introduced Electronic Facial Recognition (EFR) for wholesale banking clients, allowing large corporate banking clients to open bank accounts without wet signature.

The account opening process is now fully digital and 100% paperless meaning clients can open an account entirely online by inputting information and uploading mandatory documentation, which Mashreq’s systems automatically scan and read, minimising data entry.

Once the application is reviewed by the bank and is complete as per the bank’s policies, the account opening form is ready to sign. Any signatories with valid Emirates IDs can use their cell phones to upload their specimen signature and provide consent using EFR, which is a five-second live video feed that authenticates them using the UAE Ministry of Interior database.

Speaking on the announcement, Joel Van Dusen, Group Head of Corporate & Investment Banking at Mashreq, said: “Even in 2023, some banks continue to ask for over 50 signatures on hundreds of pages to open a corporate account.  We, on the other hand, are very proud of our journey: In 2022, we introduced the one-page account opening form and reduced number of signatures required from 50 to 1. In 2023, we have eliminated the wet signature altogether.”

In recent years facial recognition use cases have expanded across MENA amid growing demand. Particularly, among financial institutions, the technology is seen as a key tool for streamlining digital onboarding, eliminating the need for customers to visit branch offices when creating new banking accounts.

Rania Nerhal, Chief Client Experience & Conduct Officer at Mashreq, added: “While many retail banks offer digital technology & solutions to retail banking customers, the same is often missing for wholesale banking clients. Mashreq is amongst the first banks to solve this and offer such a customer friendly solution to signatories of wholesale clients.  In such large corporations, signatories are high-profile individuals who travel frequently, and that used to lead to delays in account opening because signatories would be out of the country.  With our EFR solution, they can provide instant digital consent for account opening from their home, office, or anywhere in the world.  And the entire process takes only 2 minutes.”

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