The Emirati central bank is helping smaller banks in the affluent Gulf Arab state to develop their e-banking facilities to better compete with larger banks, governor Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi said Monday, April 9.
”The smaller banks would not be able to establish this system on their own due to limited resources," Suwaidi told a conference in Dubai on e-banking and security in the Arab world.
"The system will enable them to offer e-banking and put them on a par with larger banks," he said, warning that Arab banks needed to embrace information technology (IT) to retain customers.
"Arab banks need to provide e-banking to their customers and they need to put in place the electronic infrastructure necessary for e-commerce and need to know how to take advantage of the Internet.
"Unless they improve services to meet the challenge ... residents of the UAE will choose to bank with overseas organizations and it will take away part of the captive business of UAE banks," Suwaidi said.
Arab bankers said Sunday that banks in the region must become fully IT-compliant in the face of increasingly global competition. But they warned against ridding the Arab world of local branches, saying that face-to-face banking remained, for the time being, the most important tool for business in the region.
Dubai has led the way in publicly embracing the IT age, with the launch of multibillion-dollar ventures aimed at establishing the emirate as the e-capital of the Gulf.
Doubts remain among some IT experts and businessmen, however, as to the real impact and understanding of the Internet as a tool for business in the Gulf where the gap between theory and practice can be huge. — (AFP, Dubai)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)