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Banking Commission examines e-banking

The Swiss Federal Banking Commission says it is keeping a watchful eye on the development of electronic banking and intends to strengthen surveillance of Switzerland's two largest banks.

The Commission, based in Bern, is the watchdog body of the Swiss financial services industry.

In an interview with the Swiss news agency, the Commission's deputy director, Andreas Bühlmann, said that a working group had been set up and had examined a number of problem areas related to e-banking.

The group has, in particular, looked at the procedures for opening a banking account via the Internet and adherence to the "know your customer" rules which are enshrined in the Swiss banks' code of conduct.

One of the problems is that for the time being, e-banking knows no international boundaries.

What has come under scrutiny, says Bühlmann, is the problem of identification and customer relations.

He adds that as a result of close examination, some of the articles in the code of conduct may have to be modified to take account of the realities of e-banking.

However, the Commission believes that any modifications should not be isolated national regulations but pave the way for international standards.

Bühlmann also said that there would be closer controls of the activities of Swistzerland's two largest financial services groups, Credit Suisse and UBS.

At present, the Commission has a team of 11 people who concentrate on surveillance of the two institutions. In future, there will be two different teams, each focussing on one of the big banks.

The Commission meets the management of Credit Suisse and UBS every three months, and is in close contact with foreign banking supervisory bodies, particularly those of the United States and Britain.

swissinfo with agencies


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