Regulators call on banks to focus on cross-border e-banking risks

Banks need to integrate cross-border electronic banking risks into their overall risk management framework, the Basel Committee said in a paper released today.

The Committee urged banks contemplating investment in cross-border e-banking ventures to recognise and manage associated strategic, operational, reputation and country risks. This includes ensuring compliance with the laws and regulations of the bank’s home country and those of foreign countries that could assert jurisdiction over e-banking services directed at their residents.

The paper, issued on behalf of the Basel Committee by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), recommended that banks clearly state disclaimers on their websites that they limit online products and services to residents of specific countries.

The Basel Committee said it planned to focus attention on the need for effective home-country supervision of cross-border e-banking activities and on international co-operation between banking supervisors. “This is essential to promote safe and sound cross-border e-banking without creating undue regulatory burden or impediments to banks’ use of the internet delivery channel to meet customer needs,” the report stated.

The Committee believes most countries' current banking laws can be extended to e-banking. The paper also stated it should be the responsibility of the home-country banking supervisor to assess whether a bank “understands the challenges and risks associated with its cross-border e-banking activities” as part of its general assessments.

The Basel Committee is seeking comments on issues outlined in the paper by the end of the year. Details can be found at www.bis.org.

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