The finance and banking sector is one of the few sectors that have really capitalised on and evolved as a result of the full adoption of ICT applications. It is a clear example of how ICT is not only synonymous with the communications sector itself, but is critical for the sustainability and development of other sectors and for the delivery of added benefits to consumers all round.
Acknowledging this fact, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) is currently spearheading an initiative in collaboration with the Malta Bankers’ Association, whereby it is offering a series of information sessions for the general public in an effort to promote the use of internet banking, raise awareness on the benefits it can offer and address any misconceptions with regard to associated risks.
Five core domestic banks, namely APS, Banif Bank (Malta), BOV, HSBC and LOMBARD are participating in this initiative, by offering both financial and human resources to deliver the sessions on their own respective platforms.
These information sessions which are being offered for free form part of the MCA’s constant drive to break down any barriers that prevent a more inclusive digital society. More often than not, these barriers require a sustained educational campaign or simply the provision of training and awareness measures in order to be knocked down. This belief was echoed by the Hon. José Herrera in his address during the official launch that took place on Thursday 16th April at the Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa. He stated ‘’that resistance to the use of technology very often can be pinned down to lack of objective knowledge or the wrong perceptions’’. Furthermore he lauded the sense of cooperation that prevailed amongst all stakeholders involved to make this initiative possible.
On his part, Dr Edward Woods, Chairman at the MCA made reference to the National Digital Strategy 2014-2020, which recommends a number of initiatives that facilitate the active engagement of the public in the use of electronic means of payment. Dr Woods emphasised that ‘this is yet another initiative that fully reflects the MCA’s commitment to ensure that everyone has the means to fully participate in this ever-growing digital economy. We have come a long way in the delivery of our training programmes which focused on building up the basic skills in ICT. Now we are focusing on how these skills can be applied in a more meaningful way.’
James Bonello, Secretary General of the Malta Bankers’ Association, touched upon a number of advantages associated with internet banking, such as the payment of utilities and other bills, transfer of funds between accounts, checking of balances and above all, 24X7 availability. Mr Bonello also stated that security issues would be amply addressed during the information sessions. The information sessions will consist of a single 2-hour session, during which the participants will have the opportunity to browse through the Internet banking platform of the bank or banks of their choice. There will be multiple sessions for each bank and participants may opt to attend a morning or an evening session. Hence it is important that participants clearly indicate their bank/s of choice.
Officers from the five banks participating in this initiative and from MCA will be delivering these sessions in a number of centres around Malta and Gozo. It is also pertinent to note that the use of internet banking requires some very basic computer skills hence it is recommended that applicants would have basic computer literacy in order for them to be able to take the maximum benefit from these sessions.
Applications are available from all of branches of the participating banks, as well as all Local Councils as from Monday 27th April, 2014. Once completed, applications can either be posted to MCA at the address below or deposited at any Local Council.
The Malta Communications Authority
Valletta Waterfront, Pinto Wharf
Floriana FRN 1913
Those interested in attending one of these session may also apply by telephone on 21 336 848 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the coming weeks, the MCA will be contacting all applicants to provide the logistical details related to the delivery of the sessions such as day, time and venue.