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Barbados Central Bank To Issue E-Banking Guidelines

by Amanda Banks,, London

22 November 2001

The governor of the Central Bank of Barbados, Dr Marion Williams, has declared that e-banking in the Caribbean is 'ripe for a technological revolution' and the bank intends to issue guidelines on electronic banking before the end of the year.

'The Central Bank expects to issue guidelines on e-banking by year-end and we hope that we will assist banks in observing certain prudential criteria in establishing e-banking activities,' she told delegates at the launch of the Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks' 28th annual general meeting and conference held in Barbados last week.

She added: 'In the event that the slowness in doing this may be attributable to the fact that the bank has not put those guidelines out, we are going to make sure that they are put out, so that commercial banks can proceed with their e-banking activities if they wish to do so.'

Dr Williams also confirmed that an automated clearing house is expected to be operational some time in the new year which she hoped would 'bring greater efficiencies to commercial banking activities.' The clearing house will be run via partnership between commercial banks and the Central Bank.

'And later next year,' continued the governor, 'we hope to complete our real time growth settlement system, which will provide instantaneous payment systems and make those available to commercial banks for large value transactions. Hopefully, that should be ready by April next year.'

According to Dr Williams the majority of banks in the Caribbean do not yet provide customers with online access to basic information about the bank's services, products and fees which puts them at a competitive disadvantage with banks and customers who were 'already involved in electronic commerce and electronic banking.'

'Purchases are made via the Internet and the bank's only involvement is a downstream settlement of accounts. And I understand that very often, the customer has to call in directly on the telephone to ensure that his transaction has been completed,' she commented.

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