Today, the banking sector in the United Kingdom and crown dependencies are taking a well-deserved break, thanks to the 150-old decision of a national holiday on the first Monday of August of every year.
In 1871, a royal UK proclamation announced a "Bank Holiday" on the first Monday of August of every year, offering people working in the banking industry across the country a long weekend, to relax and unwind and enjoy an extra day of summer warmth with family and friends.
The reason behind the holiday has always been linked to giving staff members a break after they finalize their tasks for the financial year, which also serves as a great motive for them to finish their work on time prior to the long weekend.
In the UK and crown dependencies consisting of the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey which make up the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, this holiday used to be a source of worry for bank clients who needed to make sure they can use banks' services during the holiday without interruptions, which might have been the reason the bank holiday didn't get as popular in other parts of the world, including the Middle East and North Africa.
Yet, the bank holiday no longer affects clients' needs, as online banking has become more available than ever, allowing clients to make use of a wide variety of services using their smartphones.
Here in the MENA region, lockdowns imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed most banks to develop their banking technologies and to end old practices that required bank clients to visit their branches to use any of their banks' services, such as opening savings accounts or applying for loans.
Will this change in the banking industry inspire decision-makers to issue national bank holidays in our part of the world soon?
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