“The Tunisian banking system is fragmented and includes a large number of small institutions that exceed the real need of the economy.
This is what emerges from the economic note of the stock exchange agent Mac SA. The author of this note, Ghazi Boulila, academic and administrator at the “Société tunisienne des Banques” (STB) said that despite this significant number, this sector has not been able to contribute to financing the development of interior and southern regions.
Several reasons are proposed, including those related to profitability, centralization, risk-taking, governance and especially the loyalty of their former clients, usually large industrialists and hoteliers.
Despite this fragmentation, the banking penetration rate of the population and access to financial and banking services remains low. The estimates prepared by the BCT show that the rate of banking penetration is close to 50%.
Today, and in the face of the economic crisis, the poor development of interior and southern regions and the erosion of the confidence of Tunisians living in regions towards the current centralized banking system, it is appropriate to reflect on the redeployment of existing state-owned banks and / or the creation of new regional banks that are close to rural reality and the expectations of the population, stresses the note.
The experience of several countries such as France, Italy, Germany and Morocco shows, according to this note, that regional mutual banks are firmly anchored in their regions and territories and have hugely contributed to the development of Agriculture and SMEs.
Tunisia, which is committed to decentralization and the urgent need to finance the local and rural economy, is leading us to reflect on the implementation of a policy that favors local financing based on Development of mutual banks.
In this context, the Moroccan model, which is inspired by the German model, seems to us the most suitable for the case of our economy.
One can envisage the conversion of a public bank into a popular central bank and the creation of a network of cooperative mutual banks. The strategy will be based on two pillars, reads this note.
The restructuring of the Tunisian banking sector should continue, according to this note, in order to contribute more to local financing and to improve the profitability of other conventional banks.
This reconfiguration goes through three directions. The first is based on the creation of networks of regional and mutual banks with the aim of reducing banking exclusion, increasing the bank rate and effectively helping local development.
Popular mutual banks benefit from the knowledge of their clients and their needs.
The second direction is to involve the STB and the BH with a foreign technical or strategic partner by selling part of the capital (20 to 30%).
This arrangement makes it possible to finance the State budget and, above all, to increase the competitiveness of public banks by developing new products, improving the quality of banking services and the information system, good risk management and internationalization.
The third is to divest the holdings of the seven non-strategic banks (STUSID Bank, BTK, BTE, NAIB, BTL, Al Baraka and Zitouna Bank) to local and foreign private banks.