BRANCHLESS & E-BANKING TAKING ROOTS

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Aug 24 - 30, 2009

Though the electronic banking (e-banking) and branchless banking transactions continue to show growth momentum reflected in the rising trend in terms of their values and volumes, yet the training and behavior of the workforce especially in the privatized banks needs badly coating of the banking ethics.

Despite a cutthroat competition prevailing in the banking sector calls for a willing and skilled attitude to deal with the customers, most of the employees in the privatized banks have failed to catch up with the trends in vogue with the arrival of foreign banks in the country.

Fourth Quarterly Report on "Branchless Banking/Electronic Banking" says that volume and value of e-banking/branchless banking transactions in the country reached at 44.5 million and Rs3.9 trillion respectively showing an increase of 11.1 percent in number and 7.8 percent in value as compared to 6.5 percent increase in number and 11.4 percent increase in value in the previous quarter of FY09 (Jan-March 2009).

During the fourth quarter (April-June) of FY09, the volume and value of online banking transactions in the country reached at 13.7 million and Rs3.7 trillion respectively showing a growth of 10.8 percent in numbers and 7.4 percent increase in value as compared to 14.8 percent increase in numbers and 11.7 percent increase in value in the previous quarter.

According to the report, during the fourth quarter the volume and value of ATM transactions in the country reached at 25.2 million and Rs 189.0 billion respectively showing a growth of 12 percent in numbers and 12.2 percent increase in value as compared to 5.2 percent increase in numbers and 10.2 percent increase in value in the third quarter.

During the period under review, the volume and value of internet transactions in the country recorded at 0.6 million and Rs22.2 billion respectively showing an increase of 15.4 percent in numbers and 35.7 percent increase in value as compared to 2.8 percent decline in numbers and 2.1 percent increase in value in the previous quarter. Whereas, the volume and value of mobile transactions in the country recorded at 21,733 and Rs4.9 million respectively showing an increase of 40.6 percent in numbers and 48.2 percent increase in value as compared to 12.1 percent decline in numbers and 15.4 percent decline in value in the previous quarter.

According to the report, the total quantity of ATM machines during April-June, 2009 reached at 3,999 registering a growth of 5.7 percent as compared to 7.4 percent increase in the previous quarter. The volume of Real Time Online Branches (RTOB) during the quarter reached at 6,040 and recorded a growth of 1.3 percent as compared to 1.8 percent increase recorded in the previous quarter. The total quantity of POS terminal reached at 49,715 showing an increase of 2.7 percent in number as compared to 1.1 percent decline in previous quarter.

It noted that total quantity of cards (debit / credit /ATM only) in circulation during fourth quarter of FY09 reached at 8.9 million, which shows an increase of 6.6 percent as compared to 3.1 percent decline in the previous quarter. The quantity of credit cards has decreased by 0.6 percent as compared to 6.2 percent decrease in the previous quarter. The quantity of debit cards has increased by 9.6 percent as compared to 2.5 percent decline in previous quarter and stood at 6.4 million.

The report points out that paper-based instrument during the fourth quarter of FY09 witnessed a growth of 4.8 percent to 85.6 million in numbers compared with 1.4 percent decline in the previous quarter (81.7 million). The value of transactions decreased by 6.1 percent to Rs33.1 trillion as against 1.6 percent increase or Rs35.3 trillion recorded during third quarter of FY09.

During last six quarters the transition from manual (paper-based) banking to e-banking has been gradual, yet consistent, in terms of both volume and value of transactions. The composition (in percentage) of electronic transactions increased to 34.2 percent of the total number of transactions as compared to 32.9 percent recorded last quarter. In terms of value, the same increased by 10.5 percent as compared to 9.3 percent rise recorded last quarter.

PAKISTAN'S LIQUID FOREIGN RESERVES POSITION

The total liquid foreign reserves held by the country stood at $ 12,963.0 million on 15th August, 2009. The break-up of the foreign reserves position is as under: -

i) Foreign reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan: $ 9,468.6 million
ii) Net foreign reserves held by banks (other than SBP): $ 3,494.4 million
iii) Total liquid foreign reserves: $ 12,963.0 million