A Message from the Chair – November 2021

Hi All and Marhaba from Amman, Jordan!

As you may all know, I took over as the Chair of BAFT in May 2021 and promised Mark Garfield (Past Chair & Member of the BAFT Board of Directors) that I would continue his “Letter from the Chair” initiative, except the frequency will be quarterly as opposed to monthly. So here it goes.

The Silver Lining

If there is any silver lining that I can mention while living through this pandemic, I would say it was the close ties that were forged during our virtual calls and meetings. Seeing kitchen closets in the background, pictures of loved ones on a mantelpiece, a colorful vase in the distance, or even a glimpse of a tidy bed gave a strange feeling of familiarity, relatability, and a sense of comradery that for a change, we are all going through the same thing together.

Now that the tides are shifting, vaccines are being administered (not fast enough, but at least they are being rolled out), and the wheels of the world are slowly turning and trying to return to a sense of normalcy; we realized more than ever that we are all in this together on several fronts and more so than we initially thought.

Staying Connected

So what is this togetherness all about? It is quite straightforward. It is about recovering our mental health. It is about maintaining our ties with one another so in the case we cannot travel, we can stay connected virtually. It is about dwelling over the future of correspondent banking in an ever-changing environment with new entrants and customers who want services instantly and effectively. It is about achieving a quality of life in our businesses by ensuring that the Environment is taken care of, the Social wellbeing of our communities are safeguarded, and that Governance is entrenched in all aspects of what we do. In other words, it is about Sustainability.

This is what we are committed to achieving as BAFT Members and as transaction bankers. We will continue to reach out to all of you through our webinars, virtual forums, regional councils and committees, in-person conferences, and you may see us play a trivia game or two to lighten up the not-so-light mood that looms over us every now and then.

Our Focus

Our focus includes ESG, continued collaboration with stakeholders and enablers, the BAFT Future Leaders Program, transaction banking trends in faster payments, the digitization of trade finance, supply chain disruptions, the LIBOR cessation, CBDCs and digital assets, all while delivering thought leadership, advocacy, education and sense of community to our members. This is what the core of transaction banking asks of us.

Welcome New Members

As Chair, I look forward to being a part of all those efforts alongside each and every one of our members. Speaking of members, my “Letter from the Chair” is not complete without welcoming the following members to the BAFT family:


On that positive note, I hope to see you all during the upcoming BAFT CONNECT networking sessions on November 17, 2021. Otherwise, I look forward to reconnecting next quarter.


Warmest Wishes,

Maram Al-Jazireh
Senior Vice President & Global Head of Financial Institutions, Arab Bank
Chair, BAFT