Facing new challenges

October 2003
Middle East;Oct2003, Issue 338, p33
The banking industry worldwide has to face new challenges rising from globalization, deregulation, financial innovations and the Internet revolution as of October 2003. The fast changing environment has, over the past decade, had a profound effect on leading banks in both mature and emerging markets. Today's core profit areas are mainly in consumer lending, credit/debit cards, insurance, investment banking, private wealth management, equity-and-debt financing and offering high-tech instruments, such as derivatives, the trading of credit, interest rate and foreign exchange risks. In the coming years, existing Arab banking systems will change. The World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services obliges member-countries to liberalize their financial markets, including banking, insurance and securities to foreign participation. UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan are already WTO members while Saudi Arabia has yet to gain membership. Premier institutions like Arab Banking Corporation (ABC), National Commercial Bank, Saudi American Bank, Arab Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Gulf International Bank, among others, are well equipped to withstand global competition in the post-WTO liberalization era.


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