Experts Urge Arab Banks to Embark on e-Banking
Lebanon and the Arab countries must join forces and catch up with the rest of the world in information technology and Internet banking, bankers said on Thursday, quoted by the Lebanese Daily Star.
Addressing a conference on Internet banking laws at the Savoy Suite Hotel, Joseph Torbey, vice-president of the Union of Arab Banks, warned that Arab banks will be gravely affected if they do not start introducing internet banking soon.
Torbey said that computer illiteracy is still widespread in this part of the world and that only 0.7 percent of the Arab population are actually connected to the Internet.
Other sources estimate Internet users at one million.
He added that Internet use in the Arab world will reach only 5 percent of the population by 2003. According to statistics provided by the Union of Arab Banks, more than 500 million people will be using the internet in the US and Europe by the same year.
Torbey was quoted as saying that a bank transaction through the internet will only cost the customer 2 cents, compared to 24 cents through an ATM, 55 cents through the telephone, and $1.07 through a bank branch.
The Union of Arab Banks was set up by the Arab League in 1974 and comprises 300 Arab banks.
According to the Daily Star, Lebanon's Central Bank last year became the first central bank in the Arab world to issue specific online banking regulations. The regulations set an overall framework for the newly born Internet banking in Lebanon.
The Amman-based Arab Bank implemented online services in 2000 after an agreement with Brokat Infosystems, a leading supplier of software for secure e-Banking and e-Business solutions. Arab Bank has total assets of around $25 billion, and it is also ranked among the top 200 banks worldwide with its global network of 375 branches – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)