Banks are promoting digital solutions to cut costs. Smartphones are increasingly incorporating more financial services - Lebanon

Banks are promoting
digital solutions to cut costs
Smartphones are increasingly

incorporating more financial services

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The banks are increasingly adopting digital solutions in order to reduce their costs and attract a growing market segment of technology-savvy customers, according to ‘Smartphones are reshaping banking’, an article published in the June issue of Lebanon Opportunities.

The cost saving comes in terms of money, time, and effort, said Philippe El Hajj, Deputy General Manager and Head of Retail Banking and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Banking at Fransabank.

Many banks are offering incentives to their clients to encourage them to use digital banking as the substantial cost saving they could realize largely offsets the perks they receive.

The banks’ effort to boost digital solutions is proving popular among customers. Antoine Lawandos, Assistant General Manager and Chief Information Officer at BLOM Bank, said: “We have observed that there has been a shift towards conducting digital transactions as opposed to transactions at physical branches, especially among our digital-savvy young customers.” Nearly 80 percent of customer interactions with BLOM’s online services are done through the eBLOM mobile app.

According to Raffy Karamanian, Head of Digital Banking at Bank Audi, last April, 1.3 million logins were recorded on their mobile banking application, an almost 40-percent increase compared with the previous year. Hajj said: “In ten years from now, the smartphone will be able to provide all the banking services offered by a physical branch.”

The use of plastic cards is declining as the market is moving away from payment cards thanks to growing smartphone penetration. “The trend is towards mobile wallets, which are virtual wallets that store payment card information on a smartphone,” said Ramzi Saboury, Chief Commercial Officer of Areeba, which provides e-payment solutions and fraud-monitoring services.

The banks are also tapping other digital options, such as smart automatic teller machines (ATMs) and virtual teller machines (VTMs) as well as electronic chat features, videoconferencing, and electronic kiosks and branches.

Since digital banking is a profitable investment, the banks are injecting more money into digital projects. Salim Sfeir, Chairman of Bank of Beirut, said that they have invested more than $80 million into the bank’s information technology infrastructure over the last three years, including digital banking solutions.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: Jun 11, 2019