Really to open this issue we should give trust to the people who are working outside to be able to transfer their money inside so they can collect their money immediately, exchange it to the Libyan dinar, and transfer it back. We have to create some trust between the banking sector and the people itself to enable a number of things in the banking sector here.
Do you know how many people are working in the banking sector?
About 20,000 people. In Jumhouria Bank we have about 7,000.
What is your prediction for the growth of the banking sector in 2013?
In my opinion, there will be gradual growth. For Jumhouria, we expect 15% growth YOY but for other banks I cannot answer. Profitability is growing but we are also trying to increase employee salaries. When I took over this bank, I tried to find out how the average salary compared to the other banking sectors here, especially the government banking sector. It should be at least equal or within 5 or 10%.
Before I became the general manager of the bank, I insisted on increasing the salary of the staff by 14% to be equal to the public banking sector. This is a big amount – more than 70 million Libyan dinar.
At the same time, the central bank this year established a fund for the guarantee on the deposits of the banks to which we had to contribute. In 2012 they took 22 million Libyan dinar from Jumhouria Bank, so in addition to 70 million Libyan dinar for the increased salary, it came to 90 to 100 million Libyan dinar just for unexpected expenses. It's not a small amount for a bank to increase from one year to the next. Also for 2013 this fund required about 34 million Libyan dinar from the bank.
The most important thing for the bank is the training of people. Unfortunately there was previously no investment in human resources at all so we must prepare our staff now. We are also facing a problem with the latest law issued by the general congress to cancel the interest for social loans for individuals. So we have to think about alternate services to compensate for this profit loss.