Interview with General Manager of Jumhouria Bank

So if I understand correctly, you are for one bank being public and the others privatized but these privatizations shouldn't be a sell-off or acquisition by foreign banks but should be listed on the stock exchange and shares purchased by Libyan people themselves?

Not just Libyan but also international investors. That doesn't matter. Also for the small banks which are already established in the market, the central bank should issue a law that should require the minimum capital required for those banks which are now outside of the regulations of the central bank in my opinion.

Regarding infrastructure, banks are using different bank systems and infrastructure is still a big obstacle to proper banking. Can you talk about these challenges?

This is the major problem for the banking sector and not just the banking sector, but for the government itself and any company or ministry. Unfortunately we have a lack of proper communication in the country itself. I joined the bank just one year ago and unfortunately when I came here, most of the problems stemmed from the core banking system which caused problems on a daily basis. We also faced daily problems with our customers who think the failure was on our side, but unfortunately it is out of our control because it's related to the poor communications system in Libya.

We have 150 branches and only 85 of them have been connected to the fiber or wireless system and the rest of the branches are not linked at all by the core banking system because they are in remote locations and there is no proper communication there. So we don't have any options to connect to them with the core banking system. They are still running on very old systems, each bank separately and therefore there are problems with collecting information, especially to create a balance sheet on a monthly or daily basis.

I think now the government is working hard to provide fiber for all areas of the country itself and at the same time at least we should have two media communication. In case one doesn't work then we will have the other for backup. At that time we will make sure that we have the proper services for our customers wherever they are.

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