The banking industry should become the cornerstone of Dubai as it seems, firstly to compete with Doha and Manama to be the regional finance centre, and then to link in as the centre between the east and the west. However, much still needs to be done, going forward, starting at a grass routes level. I am well aware that the term banking could encompass the basic current account, all the way through to large scale sukuks. However, any problem in one area reflects negatively on the others, whether there is a link or not.
Much has been made of the skimming
device at Emirates bank. This is one way by which criminals have attempted to swindle the public at the cash point. It is an age old trick, one that has been done to death in the West. This should make it easier for the authorities here to clamp down on such things happening again. I am just surprised that there weren't any preventitive measures in place beforehand. However, with big brother in play, I'm sure that criminals will be too scared to pull a swifty once those responsible are lashed and deported.
Skimming and the like doesn't bother me too much. What worries me is the basics of some of the retail banking operations. For example, are you aware that some of the banks in the UAE have to rekey your transactions between one system and another, overnight so that it is updated on your account. That means you transact something on your bank account, or example pay a bill, but this wont get updated until the next day, after someone has rekeyed that on your main account. Sounds bizarre that such things still happen, and as any techy will tell you, a few bits of code and an interface and you have a feed between two systems to update automatically. Such basic issues in retal baning are things that were dealt with about 15 years ago in the West.
On another level, with Basel II compliance deadlines somewhat close in many countries, it is refreshing to hear that banks are volunarily investing
in risk and compliance systems! Does that mean that risk monitoring was done on a manual basis before? It is high time that the banking industry invested some of the cash that it gained from the naive stock market investors and create robust systems that mitigate against risk at all levels, from credit card scamming, to cash card skimming to Basel II implementations.
To be treated as world class, you must act world class. That would also go for some of the World Cup teams playing this month.