Interview with General Manager of Jumhouria Bank

What about the new electronic cheque clearing system that has been approved and is in process of being launched?

There's a national payment system which has already been established at the central bank. It's working now but not properly, especially if we don't have all branches linked with the core banking system. We cannot link all branches with the clearing system so we have two different clearing systems, one that is electronic and the other manual which is to send the cheques to the clearing system.

So there are many problems due to communication but if we had better communication we would be finally able to do our best. Even now we have problems due to the lack of communication and also unfortunately the data center for four of the largest banks in Libya is already now in the central and with the same servers and operating system; therefore now the central bank is going to sublet the servers or the operating systems for the banks. Each one should be separated and we are working toward this.

Also, we would like proper servers with the proper operating system to connect between the servers and the core banking system. It's finally in place and we expect it to be finalized within two months. When this is done, many problems will be solved within the banking sector. At the same time, we are working toward having our own data center in the bank. We want at least two, with one as the main and the other as a backup. I expect that before the end of 2013 and also with the communication system we will try to do our best to provide the proper services to our customers with the proper data center and core banking system.

In my opinion, there will be gradual growth. For Jumhouria, we expect 15% growth from year to year but for other banks I cannot answer. Profitability is growing but we are also trying to increase employee salaries.

We are also going to upgrade our version which we are working on right now. Unfortunately, we are working on the version 2.x while the ICE Cube already approached version number 12 so there is a big gap between our system which we are using right now and the final version which has been raised by the company. We try to do our best to upgrade the data for all of the banks after they are inter-linked by proper communication. At the same time we would like to go to the version 12 directly.

We are in discussion with the company and the central bank right now because the main agreement has been signed by the central bank on behalf of the bankers so we expect by the end of this year everything will be solved for the core banking system. This will also serve for the clearing system or whatever to link to by the banks such as ATMs which can draw your money from a number of different banks. Right now you cannot withdraw money from any ATM, just from your own bank, but in the future you will be able to use any ATM.

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