By Andy Sambidge
Veritas Group exec says region's bank card industry facing 'multiple challenges'.
The GCC's banking sector needs to "up the ante" and deliver improved services to customers, an industry expert said on Monday.
Premal Patel, executive director, of Bahrain-based Veritas Group, organiser of the upcoming GCC Cards Summit 2010, said the success of the region's bank cards industry was reliant on "consistently good service".
He said in a statement: "The region's banking sector needs to pump up service delivery and up-the-ante on the value propositions aligned to card products as more and more customers are looking beyond a standard credit facility."
Patel said the region's card industry was facing "multiple challenges", adding that many latent issues have been uncovered by the economic slowdown - the main driver in shifting spending patterns, especially among the large expat population.
"The future of cards is in question. Of course the sector will survive, but in what shape - this is the burning question. Indeed, the opportunity now is for change, and change for the better. This change is being driven by a simple truth, service differentiation. This is the way forward for cards in the region," he added.
He said the cards industry must get to grips with the needs of consumer, both individual and corporate.
"A good place to start is by opening dialogue with existing customers, listen to what is troubling them, and ask what they feel they need in the new marketplace that fast is emerging," Patel said.
More than 20 industry experts are due to speak at the GCC Cards Summit, which takes place in Bahrain in November.
The Summit has already gathered support from a number of regional and international organisations, including the Bahrain Association for Banks (BAB) and Arab Financial Services (AFS).
Robert Ainey, of the Bahrain Association for Bank's, which is supporting the summit, said: "They [retail banks] must want to be a service-oriented organisation, and this requires a radical shift in the mind-set of the way business and process are managed. The winners in the cards market will be those who focus on what today's customer needs, and not what the bank wants."
any customer could tell you this!!!