The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has made an appeal to financial institutions in Seychelles to do more to modernise, provide Internet banking services, as well as affordable credit to help the economy.
The President made the statements in an address at the Seychelles Central Bank Anniversary Lecture, “Technological Innovation Driving Financial Services,” at the International Conference Centre on Saturday, November 19. The lecture was attended by the Governor of the Central Bank, Pierre Laporte, the Chairman and CEO of Polaris Software Lab, Arun Jain, as well as dignitaries.
“… When it comes to innovation, I cannot say that I am satisfied with what the institutions are offering to their clients. For instance, today, not one single bank in Seychelles offers full Internet banking services to their clients! I am encouraged, however, that some of our banks have indicated that this will be forthcoming,” said the President during his address.
The President noted that his government and the Central Bank had made significant strides to improve the regulatory framework in which financial institutions operate and would continue to ensure that the institutional and legal frameworks remain up to date with the financial innovations.
“I applaud the efforts of our public institutions, which have grasped technological changes, and which have already brought about significant improvements in the delivery of their services. … I take the opportunity to congratulate the Central Bank for being one of our institutions that has adopted technological advances to its benefit,” said the President.
The President referred to the recent investment of the CBS in its integrated CORE banking platform, which has allowed the bank to, among other things, increase the volume of transactions it processes, reduce risks associated with a multitude of computer software, minimize security risks, provide real-time balances to government and commercial banks, and enable “straight-through” processing.
The President noted that various forthcoming projects envisaged by the bank, its initiative for the automation of check clearing, which will mean that the exchange of paper checks between banks for the settlement of personal and business transactions will soon be a thing of the past.
The President also urged financial institutions, especially the commercial banks, to do more to help our economy.
“We have a duty to empower our people. We have a duty to help them better their situation, to do business, expand and create more wealth, more opportunities… But they cannot do so without access to affordable credit. Credit remains one of the fundamental drivers of economic growth. Banks can and must reduce interest rates further. Bank spreads today are higher than they were before we implemented our economic reforms three years ago, one of the only few black spots when we look at our overall performance during that period. So I urge banks, once again, to go back to the drawing board and contribute more to our economy through more affordable lending rates. At the same time, let us do more to encourage the savings culture through more attractive savings rates.”