A brief history of Bahrain

Bahrain is a dynamic commercial hub. For over 4,000 years, it has been a financial centre and major trade route. Its economic heritage dates back to when the Dilmun civilisation controlled the Persian Gulf.

This Gulf is renowned for document seals whose form and decoration show the active role they played in Dilmun society. Document seals from Dilmun were used extensively across the Middle East and North Africa. They provide evidence of long-distance commerce in copper and other goods between ancient civilisations.

Each Dilmun seal had its own intrinsic value and story. Some were used as charms, talismans and stamps on property. Some depict Gilgamesh, the oldest heroic figure in literature, who killed the 'Bull of Heaven'. The bull's head inspires the brand image of BFC Bank.

Bahrain was the first Gulf state to discover oil in 1932. It benefitted from the wealth this created to become one of the dominant economic centres in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC). It was also the first Gulf state to move away from dependence on oil. It has been the region's leading financial centre since the 1980s.

Bahrain was one of the first bourses in the GCC to list instruments such as preferred shares, bonds, Islamic Sukuks and mutual funds.

Bahrain Stock Exchange has a market capitalisation of USD19 billion. It has a wide range of listed securities and 400 diverse financial services companies. These are made up of local, regional and international firms. Its modern banking system combines cutting-edge digital technology with age-old traditions to make it one of the world's fastest growing banking and financial centres.

History of BFC Bank

The Bahrain Financing Company (BFC) was founded in Bahrain in 1917 to trade gold bullion and foreign currency. It built a recognised and well-respected reputation for moving money safely, transparently and efficiently.

  • 1991 - Bahrain Exchange Company, Kuwait was established; now a leading foreign exchange and money transfer specialist.
  • 2003 - BFC Exchange Limited (formerly known as EzRemit Limited) was established in the UK.
  • 2008 - Bank Alkhair Bahrain acquired a controlling stake in BFC and formed BFC Group Holdings W.L.L. Bahrain (BFC Group).
  • 2013 - BFC Wholesale Currency Services was launched in the UK to engage in wholesale buying and selling of travel related banknotes.
  • September 2016 BFC Bank Limited received authorisation by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
  • 2017 - BFC celebrates its Centenary. Today it is present in over 40 countries with more than 55,000 agent locations worldwide and is a leading Global Money Transfer Operator.
>> View our 100 year history 'timeline'
From BFC Exchange to BFC Bank

BFC Group's strategy continues to expand its operations beyond Bahrain and Kuwait. BFC Exchange is now a trading name within BFC Bank Limited whose two core business activities are personal retail remittances and retail foreign exchange. BFC Exchange operates from 15 branches in the Greater London area and an online remittance solution. EzRemit is the payment product of BFC Exchange. It is the brand name of BFC's Global Money Transfer Operator (GMTO) for small value remittances. EzRemit is a centralised hub that supports cross-border payments on behalf of BFC Group, its affiliates and third party agents in the UK and overseas.

Multi-currency accounts

Multi-currency accounts with cross currency notional pooling. Our multi-currency accounts are an efficient and cost-effective way to manage cash across multiple currencies. 'Notional pooling' means you do not have to buy currencies for short-term funding obligations, so you do not incur extra costs.

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Committed to compliance

Robust compliance and in-depth client due diligence are critical for any organisation in the regulatory intensive payments sector. We take regulatory and compliance obligations extremely seriously in all facets of our business.

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