The country’s fourth commercial bank Pan Oceanic Bank (POB) is investing US$1 million (SBD$7.3m) in information technology (IT) to ensure its banking services continue to serve and satisfy its customers.
Speaking exclusively in an interview with the Solomon Star last week the bank’s chief executive officer (CEO) Nihal Kekulawala said the banking is undertaking a huge investment in the IT area relating to the bank’s operation since kicking off operations three weeks ago.
He said such a huge investment is important to ensure the customers are able to get the best service available just like any other banks.
“Our priority is the customers. We need to give them facilities which are convenient for them.”
As such he said in the coming months, more IT related delivery channels and facilities should be made available to the customers.
These include internet banking, automatic teller machines (ATM) machines and mobile banking.
With questions raised by members of the public about the availability of ATM machines, Mr Kekulawala said customers can expect to see ATM machines being installed around the city in two or so months. These machines are expected to be shipped in from overseas.
The investment in ATM services, mobile banking and internet banking totals to about US$1million worth of investment, the CEO adding that this does not include the initial cost of setting up the bank which nearly hits a US$3million mark.
Chanaka Wanigasooriya IT consultant said with the mobile banking customers can access their balance and make transfers.
He said they will also be talking with the service provider to ensure that customers can access some other services through their handsets.
Mr Wanigasooriya said there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the area of IT but they are hoping that by the end of this year most of the services should be made available to the customers.
Both the CEO and Mr Wanigasooriya assured all the POB customers that its banking system is intact with customers unlikely to face problem with the service because its IT systems such as the server and all the computer hardwares are based in the country.
They pointed out that because of that financial transactions can be done much faster unlike other banks, the two officials added.
“Our system is running faster because the main server and the computer hardwares are here based here so the response time is much faster.
“As a result the account opening, cash dispensing, depositing of cash and cheques are processed much faster.”
The duo explained that for other banks their main server is based overseas so when theres problem with the main server it affects their system in the country, thus customers are also affected.
With new customers signing up with POB each day from Monday to Friday, Mr Kekulawala said they expect to have more than 10, 000 customers registering with them by the end of the year.
As of last Friday more than 1500 customers were believed to have signed up with bank just within two weeks. It was estimated more than a hundred customers opened up new accounts each day.
By MOFFAT MAMU