A report by the global publishing firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) due out later this year will explore the changing face of banking in Saudi Arabia, as a new generation of tech-savvy customers turn to their smartphones and tablets to access core banking services.
The Report: Saudi Arabia 2015 traces the emergence of key alternative banking channels, which have been facilitated by e-banking legislation and significant investment in mobile broadband coverage. There is also detailed analysis of the challenges that the sector faces in developing internet and mobile banking, led by concerns about online security.
Saudi Hollandi Bank has signed a second consecutive agreement with OBG for the Group’s forthcoming annual report on the country’s economy. Under the agreement, OBG will work with the lender to compile and produce the Banking Chapter of The Report: Saudi Arabia 2015.
Saudi Hollandi’s Managing Director Bernd van Linder said: that “With mobile and internet banking taking on an increasingly important role, security was understandably high on the agenda.”
“Banks are aware of the importance of having the right defensive measures in place against cyber threats to ensure consumer confidence is maintained,” he commented. “Our research with Oxford Business Group will look in detail at the strategies banks are adopting to address this issue, alongside the benefits that alternative banking platforms offer both bankers and their customers,” he added.
Oliver Cornock, OBG’s Managing Editor for the Middle East agreed that with banks able to reduce their costs by developing online services and Saudi Arabia’s younger generations keen to do their banking over the internet and on their phones, the segment offered plenty of potential for growth.
“We know that mobile broadband subscriptions stood at 94.5% of the population by the end of 2014, suggesting there is every reason for banks to focus on creating mobile service platforms,” he said. “We look forward to exploring this and other topical issues relating to the kingdom’s financial services sector with Saudi Hollandi Bank and its experts once again,” he added.
Andrianna Dafnis, the Country Director for OBG in Saudi Arabia, also believed that the growing use of smartphones by a technologically sophisticated population is driving demand for these new services.
“E-banking legislation introduced in 2011 has greatly enhanced the ability of banks to interact with their customers, with online services now ubiquitous and mobile applications rapidly emerging as a significant channel,” Dafnis said. “This shift towards increased usage of technology is being driven not just by the cost savings it offers to financial institutions, but also by the demand arising from an increasingly tech-savvy population,” Dafnis added.
The Report: Saudi Arabia 2015 is a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. It includes contributions from leading representatives, such as the Governor of Riyadh Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the Governor of SAMA Fahad A. Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority Mohammed Al Jadaan, the Minister of Transport Abdullah Al Mogbel, and the Minister of Labour Mofarrej Al Haqbani. The publication is available in print or online.