Because of the increased demand for banking services applications online
654 ATMs and 115 bank branches "out of service" in "Corona"
Al-Central: The issued cash recorded at the end of last year 110.7 billion dirhams.
Amjad Nasr: "Banks should not exaggerate in reducing the number of automated teller machines, which deprives the customer of easy access to services."
According to the latest data issued by the Central Bank, the year 2020 (the year of Corona) witnessed the exit of 654 ATMs, and the closure of 115 branches of national banks, as a result of the acceleration of the shift towards electronic services.
The central bank said that technological and structural developments in the financial sector have increased the accessibility of mobile banking applications and their online counterparts.
In detail, the Central Bank stated that the total number of ATMs registered at the end of last December 4,422 devices, compared to 5,076 devices at the end of December 2019, a decrease of 654 devices, while the number of national bank branches at the end of the same period reached 541, compared with 656 at the end of December 2019. Which means closing 115 branches.
The Central Bank added that by the end of last year, the balance of current accounts and deposits with the Central Bank reached 192 billion dirhams, compared with 160.7 billion at the end of 2019, an increase of 31.3 billion dirhams, equivalent to a growth of 19.5%.
The cash issued in the country at the end of last year recorded 110.7 billion dirhams, compared to 93.7 billion dirhams at the end of 2019, with an annual increase of 17 billion dirhams, representing a growth of 18%.
The monetary base of the state increased, by the end of last year, to 427.4 billion dirhams, compared to 409.5 billion dirhams at the end of 2019, with an annual increase of 17.9 billion dirhams, equivalent to a growth of 4.4%.
Certificates of deposit owned by banks, against which funds deposited with the Central Bank are kept, recorded 129.3 billion dirhams at the end of the comparison period, compared to 160.2 billion at the end of 2019, a decrease of 30.9 billion dirhams, and a negative change of 19.3%.
For his part, the banking expert, Amjad Nasr, said that the "year of Corona" was full of smart transformation and accelerating the use of electronic channels by bank customers, explaining that the previous years witnessed an exaggerated expansion in the number of branches, despite the presence of large costs and administrative expenses, Therefore, the banks took the initiative to close the excess number of them, in addition to the completion of mergers, reducing the number of branches and ATMs, as the two merging banks had two adjacent devices, one of them was dispensed with, and the other was satisfied, and this was applied in all places.
Nasr added, "The spread of the Corona virus was also a third and strong factor, as banks reduced the services they provide in branches and through ATMs, to prevent contact and transmission of infection, and they compensated customers by providing them through smart applications and the website."
He said: “Nevertheless, there is a problem related to the large number that has been removed from service with regard to ATMs, as banks should not exaggerate in reducing the number, which deprives the customer of easy access to banking services that require the presence of these devices, such as depositing checks and sums. The large number of branches, especially with the closure of a large number of branches ».
He pointed out that the banks, despite the large sums they spent on smart transformation, there is importance to intensify awareness campaigns on how customers use smart applications completely. They can fully conduct their banking transactions via their phones, and prefer to go to the branch, or at least deal with an ATM, and these are points that banks must take into account.
total number of ATMs was recorded at the end of December 4,422 machines.
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