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National Bank of Kuwait Goes Ripple

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The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), one of the largest privately held financial institutions in Kuwait, has announced that they have launched the “NBK Direct Remit” for cross-border live payments. It uses Ripple’s enterprise blockchain technology solution to provide customers “with a frictionless remittance experience and fast cross-border money transfer solutions.”

Source: The National Bank of Kuwait

The service is launching with a remittance corridor to Jordan only, but is expected to expand to more countries in the near future, the bank explained. NBK has a presence in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York and Singapore, and regionally in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey and the UAE.

NBK is charging a fee of 1 Kuwaiti dinars (USD 3.29) per transaction for Jordan transfers if funds are sent to its local branch. Customers using other banks will have to fork over 5 KWD (USD 16.47) per transaction. The default limit for transactions is capped at 2,000 KWD (USD 6,586), according to the bank’s website.

Marcus Treacher, Senior Vice President of Customer Success at Ripple, said in the press release, “The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is an important partner in the region, and we’re excited that they have begun moving live payments across our blockchain network on behalf of their customers. We will continue to work with NBK to connect them to more RippleNet partners so their customers can make quicker, cheaper payments to anywhere in the world.”

Established in 1952, the NBK is one of the largest financial institution in terms of assets in Kuwait. Per the bank’s 2017 annual report, the NBK has over USD 86.3 billion in total assets.

It it estimated that in 2017, global remittances reached a record high of USD 613 billion. That figure is expected to climb as consumers embrace an increasing number of mobile banking apps and crypto options, effectively upgrading from days-long, traditional settlement systems to digital transactions that take seconds to complete in a 24/7 environment.

Ripple, meanwhile, expanded its network in November this year with Malaysian lending giant CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which will integrate Ripple’s XCurrent product, a software solution for expediting cross-border payments, for its “SpeedSend” remittance product. That same month, Japanese bank and financial services firm Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. said it will use Ripple to create a new cross-border payments service to Brazil through partnership with Banco Bradesco.

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