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Lebanese banks eye digital future

Tuesday, 07 09 2019, Category: Banking, Country: Lebanon
The rise of financial technology and big tech companies is adding extra pressure on traditional banks to go digital. “Competition is going to get more severe,” Fahim uz Zaman, Middle East general manager for the European Financial Management Association, said Wednesday on the sidelines of the EFMA’s fifth annual summit in Lebanon.

The confab, held at the Hilton Habtoor, brought together retail bankers from countries like Denmark, Hungary, Turkey and the UAE, alongside their Lebanese counterparts, in addition to Central Bank officials, for the “cross-fertilization of ideas” - most pressingly, to talk about digitalization.

Lebanese banking is currently in a state of transition, according to Jocelyne Chahwan, the head of retail banking and a deputy general manager at BLOM Bank.

“What we have today is like a hybrid way of servicing the customer. You have the human side if you visit a branch and you have the digital platform if you want to do it from your office or home, and even the ATM, the smart ATM, which I consider an automated technology,” she said.

“Some banks are using the [interactive teller machine]; it’s a hybrid. You start with a digital transaction and if you need an adviser, you can have an interaction with a human being,” Chahwan added.

She predicts that in half a decade, machines will outnumber bank tellers as the latter transition to more advisory roles.

The summit also offered a chance for Central Bank representatives and Lebanese retail bankers to meet and jointly tackle digitalization.

Source: The Daily Star
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