KARACHI (January 17 2004): The banking system would go online by the end of the current year and it will be a great leap towards e-banking. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is well aware of the future requirements of the e-business and is changing the banking sector accordingly.
This was stated by SBP Governor Dr Ishrat Husain, while speaking at the concluding session of the International Edicom conference on “e-business impact on economy” on Friday.
He said that by the end of 2004 all the bank branches would go online. He informed the participants that today the banking system has reached a significant level as compared to the period when the previous e-banking conference was held.
Dr Ishrat said there was no better place for investment than to invest in e-business and multi-channels.
“We have to support electronic banking,” he said, adding, “We have to learn from successful examples.”
Pakistanis learn very fast, the solutions to the present problems in e-business and e-banking would be resolved soon, he said.
The central bank is trying to change the mindset of bankers who came from the public sector, Dr Ishrat said.
With the privatisation of Habib Bank, 80 percent banking have gone to the private sector and growing competition would force them to evolve cost-effective methods for better services and client relations, he said.
He said, in the UAE, the front office of any bank branch interacts fully with the customers, provides them assistance and processing, whereas the transactions in banks were carried out through automated teller machines (ATMs).
The online information desks also work separately to provide all the help and these facilities were centralised to curtail overheads, he added.
Dr Ishrat said that 25 percent of the GDP was from agriculture sector and 65 percent of the total population was directly or indirectly dependent on this sector. But in the past only one bank, Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) with 350 branches was offering credit to them.
Now the commercial banks with their 5,000 branches were providing such financing facilities to this sector that would help in changing the outlook of the economy, which also helped in reducing poverty, he added.
The banks are processing auto financing actively and we are hoping to bring down the processing timing to 24 hours at the car dealers shop, to increase the demand of vehicles from 30,000 to 100,000.
He said, “We have also entered into mortgage financing.”
The SBP through enabling environment, proper systems and regulations in place and positively persuading the sector to go for diversified and innovative products, seek cost-effective processing and transaction models and offer high-tech, customer friendly service through e-banking, he added.