Banking sector praised for steady services amid crisis

MANAMA: The Bahrain Associations of Banks (BAB) yesterday praised banks and financial institutions in Bahrain for their ability and effectiveness in providing most of their services through electronic communication channels during this period.

This reflects the success of their long-term investments in building an effective and reliable electronic system, and provides a model for the efficiency of the Internet infrastructure and awareness of employees and users in Bahrain, said BAB chief executive Dr Waheed Al Qassim.

The Central Bank of Bahrain was proactive in issuing its directives to activate “open banking services” that have been implemented so far by a good number of retail banks in Bahrain, which opened the way significantly for customers to obtain innovative services, he said.

Dr Al Qassim said online banking services would enhance efficiency, innovation and competitiveness of the banking sector, but with the coronavirus ordeal in Bahrain and the world, it has become clear that these services have other great benefits, including reducing human interaction and limiting the circulation of cash that may carry the virus.

“Banks and financial institutions in Bahrain are part of integrated institutional systems in public and private sectors. Many ministries, authorities and companies have adopted the remote work system, while citizens, employers or investors make a lot of online transactions,” Dr Al Qassim said.

“Today we harvest the fruit of the great efforts made by stakeholders in government and e-government sectors to provide advanced technical infrastructure,” Dr Al Qassim said, stressing the importance of studying the best practices and avoiding any shortcomings.

Dr Al Qassim hailed royal directives to allocate BD4.3 billion as a support package to help citizens and businesses to overcome the difficult situation, noting His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier’s wise management of the Bahrain team in this crisis, which has gained local, regional and international respect.

“The government system works in perfect harmony. The Supreme Council for Health, the Health Ministry and hospitals have succeeded in controlling the spread of the virus to a large extent, and the Interior Ministry is also doing its part to monitor the implementation of government procedures, while the Commerce Ministry ensures the flow of goods to the market. Most government agencies have worked to provide their services online effectively,” Dr Al Qassim said.

He commended laws and regulations issued to launch remote education, allow the mothers to work from home, and convert the court system to almost entirely electronic.




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