e-banking rides high on IT
The financial sector made remarkable progress in adopting electronic forms of payments instead of traditional paper-based ones in the just concluded year.
The use of debit card, credit card, automated teller machine (ATM), internet banking, mobile banking, automated cheque processing and credit information system increased significantly in 2011.
Banks were in the forefront of harnessing technology to improve their products, services and efficiency to rope in customers.
According to Bangladesh Bank (BB) data, out of 47 scheduled banks 43 are now engaged more or less in electronic operations.
The four banks that are yet to adopt electronic banking are: Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Bangladesh Development Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank and Rupali Bank. All these are state-owned.
BB data shows 38 banks were providing online banking facilities and 18 banks internet banking. On the other hand, nearly 40 banks have now ATM or debit card services and 26 banks offer credit card facilities.
Transactions through ATMs increased by more than 50 percent to around Tk 35,000 crore in 2011. Credit card transactions also rose more than 50 percent to nearly Tk 5,000 crore.
The central bank also took steps to make automated cheque processing system and mobile banking more effective. The BB issued guidelines for mobile-based banking services in the same year in a bid to ensure financial inclusion of the non-banked population.
“It (2011) was a great year for the financial sector in terms of IT adoption,” said Tapan Kanti Sarker, head of IT of NCC Bank.
Cheque processing, credit information and fund transfer all have been automated in the just concluded year, he added.
Syed Masodul Bari, head of IT of Al-Arafah Bank, said banking has become much easier due to the use of IT in 2011. He cited an example of remittance transfer, which has now become a matter of a few minutes instead of weeks needed earlier.
He said mobile banking would rise with a huge potential in 2012.
“Banks’ activities have become more transparent due to the use of IT,” said Bari.