March 26, 2003

The largest private bank in the United Arab Emirates, Mashreqbank, has introduced an interactive voice response service in both Arabic and English.

The IVR service, believed to be the first of its kind, was installed initially in the credit card division but will soon be extended across all Mashreqbank phone banking services.

The service was developed jointly by Ascent Computing, a provider of voice application platform software, and Mindscape Information Technology, a provider of banking and finance solutions based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mindscape supports all the IT needs of Mashreqbank, including a state-of-the-art fully automated customer call center with more than 100 agent positions serving its retail and corporate customers.

The service is intended to simplify the telephone banking experience. "It takes away the need to repeatedly punch menu numbers on the telephone and makes the telebanking experience quicker and a lot more natural and enjoyable," said Steven Pinto, head of retail banking at Mashreqbank.

Ascent and Mindscape plan to work together to forge relationships with other enterprises in the Middle East. "With this partnership, Mindscape has the ability to offer cost effective VoiceXML-based IVR solutions," said Sunil Nikhar, president and CEO of White Plains, N.Y.-based Ascent Computing.