(The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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A leading banker expressed doubt Tuesday that small banks will be able to cope with the high cost of new technologies, suggesting that this could pave the way for banking consolidation in Lebanon.Aractingi said that banks will have to provide some of their financial services for free to their clients for them to be able to compete with fintech companies in the future.Najib Choucair, executive director and head of the banking department at the Central Bank, reiterated Aractingi's comments, saying that 80 percent of profits generated in the banking sector are held by the so-called alfa group – the 14 largest banks in Lebanon – which leaves the 50 remaining banks incapable of allocating huge amounts to adopting new technologies.Likewise, Fadi Obeid, assistant chief operating officer at Bank Audi, emphasized the need for digitizing banking services in a bid to stay in the market. He cited examples of companies that left the market due to being incapable of adopting new technologies.
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