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In the age of information technology, the internet has become the one of the most popular invention. The internet has brought the world into a global village. There are countless applications which are running on the internet and are providing benefits to millions of its users. The numbers of internet users are increasing day by day and so do the internet applications. One of the many applications running on the internet is the internet banking or online banking.
The internet banking means that the financial services and products are offered to the customer online through the websites of the financial institutes. Most of the financial institutes like banks and other building societies are using internet applications to provide best and fast customer services. The internet banking has not only improved the customer services but also it has provided many financial and economical benefits to the organizations like banks etc.
Rationale for the Research
Almost all financial institutes and banks world-wide, especially in developed countries like USA, UK, European countries and some of the countries in the developing world, have implemented online banking as Ð° way of maximising customer sÐ°tisfÐ°ctiÐ¾n, gaining better results, reducing human resource cost and Ð¾btÐ°ining higher productivity.
The purpose of this research is to focus on the prospects of internet banking in the developing county like Pakistan, to find out what impacts it has put on the banking industry in Pakistan and specifically what are the benefits they have achieved through internet banking. And to what extent people are using internet banking. The focus of the study is to analyze and evaluate the advantages and benefits which are connected to the internet banking.
Why Pakistan Banking Industries
There are many developing countries where the people are still lacking from the benefits of the technologies which are widely used in the developed countries. The people and the organization are well equipped with the technologies and they are fully benefitting from these advancements in the field of science and technologies. I have selected Pakistan because of many reasons. Pakistan is one of the rapidly developing countries in the region of Asia. The Pakistan is now making progress in every field of science. The companies in Pakistan are now implementing latest technologies in their sector. The companies have started benefitting from the advancements in the information technology and so people of Pakistan are getting benefits.
As far as banking sector is concerned, the implementation of IT has brought countless changes in banking field. The transactions and services time has reduced from days to minutes. This improvement has made their customers more satisfied. From last few years almost all major banks have been providing online banking services in Pakistan. But the people in Pakistan are not fully benefiting from online banking.
Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB)
Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) has now become one of the leading bank in Pakistan. The total assets of the bank cross the range of Pakistani Rs.500 Billion and the deposit base is 368 Billion. This bank has incorporated in 1947 and rapidly it has made its reputation among the people. MCB was nationalized along with other private financial institutes in 1974. The bank now has more than 4 million satisfied customers, over 1000 branches, a nationwide network and more than 450 ATM machines in the market. In the last decade, the bank has concentrated on the growth through improving services quality, investment and effort in the technology and people and enhancing its branches network. Muslim Commercial Bank has been managed by expert people. (http://www.mcb.com.pk/mcb/about_mcb.asp 2010 Accessed on 12/02/10).
Focus of the Research
The aim of the study is to describe and to find out the benefits of online banking in developing countries like Pakistan. In this study, I have selected one of the banks in Pakistan who has recently introduced internet and mobile banking. I shall try to explore the affects of internet banking in the aspects like improved customer services, increased sales, cost savings and enhanced security. My research question is.
"Does internet banking add on benefits of improved customer services, increased sales, cost savings and enhanced security in Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) banking?
This research will also cover the following questions in order to help better understanding of what an online banking is and what services it provides and the risks involves in internet banking. These questions will help to make my research more understandable and comprehensive
What an online banking is and what services it provides?(Customer Views)
How internet banking improves customer services?
How internet banking helped to increased sales?
How internet banking helps in cost savings?
How internet banking improves security?
The general term to define internet is that it is a network of networks and more precisely and technically internet is a global network of interconnected computer networks. It is made up of millions of public, private, business, academic and government networks. The internet runs over the TCP/IP protocol.
The most general and frequent question which is asked about the internet is that who runs internet or who owns internet. The reality is that no single person or company owns or manage internet. As it is a collection of private and public networks, each network owner manages and pays for its network. Each network cooperates together to get the information flow over the internet. However, there are standard of protocols and internet procedures exist on which every internet user and organizations need to agree to participate in this global network (Gralla 1998).
Steve Jobs was the person who has introduced the IPhone in the year of 2007. He is one of the personnel working in the Apple. IPhone was not ordinary invention, the IPhone performs three different types of operations, first it is a device which fulfils the function of IPod, secondly, it is a working mobile phone with a outstanding touch screen interface and last but not least, the IPhone comes with the applications which run on it with the internet. Jobs was the same person who almost decades before announced the invention of the Apple II computer. The Apple II was a revolutionary product at that time. In the duration between the invention of Apple II PC and the IPhone, it shows the state of internet where it has been and now where it is going (Jonathan 2008).
It clearly shows us how internet has been changing its uses from time to time. In the earlier periods of it generation, the internet was just a network to connect different computer with each other. But, nowadays, the internet is not just a network for computers but is has also become the basis of the modern mobile phone applications.
Internet Banking or Online Banking
The term e-banking or internet banking refers to the use of banking services or products provided by the websites of financial institutes over the internet. It allows people to conduct financial transactions or get services by using websites of their providers over the internet. The internet banking lets you sit at home and allows access to your account 24/7. This saves time of the consumers to go to branches and do their work.
Internet Banking gives you the time and space to do the important things. Like running your business. Available when you want it, wherever you happen to be, it puts you in control of your banking (www.bankofscotland.co.uk Accessed on: 23/03/10).
According to the article on (FFIEC Accessed on 23/03/10), Internet banking is defined as the automated delivery of new and traditional banking products and services directly to customers through electronic, interactive communication channels. E-banking includes the systems that enable financial institution customers, individuals or businesses, to access accounts, transact business, or obtain information on financial products and services through a public or private network, including the Internet. Customers access e-banking services using an intelligent electronic device, such as a personal computer (PC), personal digital assistant (PDA), automated teller machine (ATM), kiosk, or Touch Tone telephone. While the risks and controls are similar for the various e-banking access channels, this booklet focuses specifically on Internet-based services due to the Internet's widely accessible public network. Accordingly, this booklet begins with a discussion of the two primary types of Internet websites: informational and transactional
2.2.1 Methods of Online Banking
There are three ways to use banking services online.
In this method, you access you account information through your bank's website over the internet.
The bank will provide you the proprietary software to install on your computer. That software will allow you to connect with your bank's computer over the secure network. In this case, you are not using internet to connect to your bank but actually you connect by dialling directly your bank.
Personal Finance Software
the software allows you to connect to your bank by using internet based link and get financial information of your account from your bank. The example of these software are Quicken and Microsoft Money. These software exchange financial information with your bank and help you to do your transactions.
2.2.2 Online Banking Services
The banks who are offering internet banking has made it possible for customers to perform as many tasks online as possible. The internet banking users can perform all types of financial, services and transactional oriented tasks. The customers can do the following tasks almost on every online banking website like to view her balance, statement, account information. The customer can pay her bills, transfer money to other accounts, applying for ` overdraft, credit cards, loans and many more. So the customers have no need to go to branch to fulfil the above tasks.
2.2.3 Growth of Internet Banking
Literature reports that customers are reluctant and indecisive to accept and use the service. It has been reported that only a total of 0.134 million people have ever visited and used the online banking systems (SBP 2006). This figure represents 0.144% of total internet population in Pakistan.
Many factors include competitive cost, customer services, reduction in human resources which come with the advantages of the internet banking. These factors have become the basic reasons for the growth and in the increasing use of internet banking. These factors motivate the banks to evaluate their technologies and assess their electronic commerce and internet banking strategies.
2.2.4 Types of Internet Banking
There are basically three types of internet banking exist nowadays. This include informational banking, communicative banking and third one is transactional banking.
2.2.5 Risks in Internet Banking
As internet banking has brought many facilities and advantages with the evaluation of it. It also comes with some of the risks which should be considered to implement successful internet banking and to get people trust on the organization.
2.3 How Internet Banking Improves Customer Services?
As internet banking brought many changes in the banking sector. One of its aspects is improved customer services. The banks had implemented the online banking to increase their customer base (Ravi 2007). The online banking has come with many ease for the consumers. The customers of internet banking do not have to go out in the branches and to queue up to do their required tasks or to get financial services. With internet banking, consumers can do their financial transactions online on the company's websites with the ease of their home.
2.3.1 Customer Services
The customer service is not just a work you do to handle a transaction in the part of your job but it is actually a management of the relationship with the people who are the important and necessary part of your job. The organizations have now been realized that the customer satisfaction is one of the most important factor in driving their services and products. The organization from the last many decades are now putting more investment into the projects like how they can achieve the maximum level of their customer satisfaction. The outcome of the best customer service is a customer satisfaction. All the services and products which are offered to the customers come with the view to attain customer satisfaction as well as company benefits. According to the Zemki and Woods (1999), the consumer never buy items like products and services according to the product or services output but they rather buy those benefits which come along with those products and services.
2.3.2 Internet Banking and Customer Services
Another area where the banks have identified the differences in their services were regard to quality standards. First of them was the introduction of quality standards in the customer services which was identified and the standards were duly defined. The different types of training programs were introduced on the basis of cascading. The staff and all the management level people were involved in those programs. Secondly, the area which was identified was the continuous improvement an ongoing dialogue was brought in whereby the staff was involved in the discussion of fair treatment and the values at each level of their job which they perform every day. The third and the final identified point was the concentration on bringing new innovation in the field of customer services. In this process, the staff was encouraged to come up with new ideas on how we can brought in new innovations regarding customer services. The organizations in which the groups working on the projects to improve customer services were prove really successful through the introduction of non traditional ways. The examples of those were the introduction of the internet banking and the availability of the account through the teleservices like call centres (Ashton and Sung 2002).
According to the Kaptan (2001), the Rangarajan Committee (1989) report is the first document in the Indian banking industries which has highlighted the fact that computerization must be looked upon as a way to improve customer services.
2.3.3 Internet Banking Improves Customer Services
The applications of the e commerce have brought many changes in the financial industries. The one important factor of using these technologies is the improvement in customer services. Because the customer satisfaction is the important fact which helps grows the number of customers involved in the business. Nowadays many of different type of financial organizations have come up with their new and innovative technologies which are helping in improving customer services. For last many years, they have become the competitors of the banks. The banks than realized that to increase its customer base they need to come up with the new trends and innovations in the traditional banking. To achieve this target they started to work on the projects which were based on the concept that how technology can help them to increase their customer base. This competition among banks and their nonbank institutions become the cause of the introduction of the internet banking. Internet banking has really helped the banks in achieving their targets to improve their customer services objectives (Humphreys 2000).
After the introduction of the internet banking to the customers, the banks have seen huge increment in the their consumer base. The Bank of America had almost two million customers who use online banking by the end of year 2001. And the number of increment was expected to be reached more the five million over the next two years. In the same way, the Citi Group had more than 500,000 online customers which were using internet banking and now definitely have been 4 or 5 time multiple of that figure. The MNB of Finland had more than 1.2 million customers who were using internet banking. However the banks in Arab countries were far much lacking behind than the European banks because of the difference of internet banking (Azzam 2002). The above figures shows the benefits to the banks gained by achieving customer satisfaction through internet banking.
2.4 How Internet Banking helped in increasing Sales?
Online banking has helped the financial institutions to get promoted their products and services. The online banking takes the advantages of the wide coverage of the internet as it is based on it. As online customers of electronic banking use internet banking to perform their regular transactions, it also give chances to customers to view different products or services offered by the bank. This helps the banks to market their products and increase sales.
2.4.1 Electronic Commerce
The word commerce stands in the meanings of doing business and the electronic means the digital media so the definition of electronic commerce or also known as e commerce is the doing business on the digital media. The e commerce businesses use websites as the base for doing business. As internet is the basic element of the e commerce so therefore the scope of e commerce business is as wide as the coverage of the internet.
According to the (Schneider 2009), All the companies are simply interested in the e commerce because it is one of the option to increase sales. All the benefits of the electronic commerce can be summarized in one statement which is electronic commerce increases sales and decreases cost in the businesses.
2.4.2 Online Banking Increases Sales
The implementation of electronic banking in an organization has affected many financial aspects. One of the aspect includes is the increased in sales. The online marketing has helped in this regard to attract more customers to use online banking to perform their required tasks. Now the customers are more attracted to those banks and financial who offer online services. For the few countries that currently measure the value of electronic sales, the total sales caused by internet ranged between 0.4 % and 1.8 % of the total sales (OECD 2002).
Another example of increased in sales because of the internet banking is the First National Bank & Trust of Pipestone who have gained around $ 2million increased in sales just over the internet by the 1997 (Keyes 2000).
2.5 How Internet Banking helps in reduced Costs?
One of the major benefits which gained from the implementation of internet banking is the reduction in costs. The website of the bank which offers internet banking facilities act like a internet branch. The development of the internet branch means that it is responsive to the customer's demands and requests. The customers can perform their banking tasks online on the websites provided by the financial institutions.
An example of a financial institution in the following paragraph shows that how they have increased their assets by implementing internet branches. The First National Bank & Trust of Pipestone, a $147-million institution in rural Minnesota offered internet banking in December, 1996. They have grown up their assets by implementing the online branches rather than buying new building to help their consumers in the specific location. The First National Bank & Trust of Pipestone reported that by the help of internet banking branches they have earned $ 5 million through their websites (Keyes 2000).
New technologies are nowadays are being implemented to gain benefits from the new development in technology. The development in technologies in collecting the data, processing it, storing the data and transforming the data are the aspects in financial sector which are influencing its activities. According to the World Bank (2004), technology can reduce costs by replacing computer with paper based and labour intensive methods of accounting for customer deposits, withdrawal and the other transactions which customers are allowed to do. The Automated Teller Machines (ATM), telephones banking and the online banking therefore can reduce costs in the financial institution.
The internet banking has got attraction and become more famous since 1990s. The banks and the other financial institutions and insurance companies starting to put more focus on the benefits of the latest technologies. The banks started to implement the internet technology as an innovative payment methods and as a way to reduce costs (Anderloni et all, 2009).
As the retail and corporate banks have moved successfully their services from traditional branches network system to centralized online banking and the call centres based on telephones. The costs have been reduced significantly because of the implementation of the new technologies. The cost of average transaction which is done in the branch costs to a bank about £10 which has been reduced to just £0.02 pence when it is done on the phone banking or online (Roger et all, 1999). That is a huge difference between the costs of carrying out transactions which banks and other financial institutions are now been getting.
2.6 What are the aspects of Security in Internet Banking?
The security over the internet has always been an important factor. The internet banking helped the customers to do more safe transactions over the internet. The customers of the internet banking do not need to use, for example, debit card everywhere to do financial transactions. The customers can pay their utility bills online on their banks websites. Their information of the account is more secure on the internet as they do not have to share their account information everywhere.
Methodology is essentially the way in which the research will be undertaken. It includes which methods will be employed for data collection, what kind of data will be collected and a valid explanation of how the approach will correctly give an answer to the research questions. (Cameran, 2005)
The methodology of the present research project is influenced and structured according to the research process 'onion', which was developed and introduced by Saunders et al. (2003). In this respect the 'Research Methodology' section of this project is divided into five sub-topics, each of which aims to provide a detailed explanation of the research process.
According to the Saunders et al.,(2003) research process onion, this chapter will acknowledge about the flow and direction of the research project. In the beginning, it will discuss that which Philosophy is going to be use and provide the reason of using this philosophy. After discussing the philosophy it will provide the knowledge that which Approach will suits best to this research project. One of the approaches from, Inductive and Deductive is going to be use in this project.
In the next step, it will pursue with the reasoning of using the suitable Strategy for this research. It will help to determine the direction of the research project. Time horizon has its own importance in any research topic. In the end, it will describe that, how Data is going to be collect for answering the question of this research topic.
3.1 Research Philosophy:
Knowledge is a complex phenomenon influenced and developed by various contextual variables. In this respect, a research philosophy represents a researcher's perception of the way knowledge is constructed (Saunders et al., 2003).
The term research philosophy relates to the development of knowledge and the nature of that knowledge, it contains some important assumption about the way in which you view the world (Saunders et al., 2007, p.121)
There are three views about the research process dominates the literature; philosophies of positivism, interpretivism and realism. Each of these philosophies provides a unique view on the way knowledge is developed. It is important for a research process to clearly establish its research philosophy as it has a significant impact on the methodological framework applied.
For example, positivism applies scientific reasoning and law-like generalisations in the process of knowledge construction (Remenyi et al., 1998). The research methodology influenced by this philosophy is characterised with a highly transparent structure to facilitate replication (Gill and Johnson, 1997). On the other hand, the research philosophy of realism identifies the existence of a number of external social objectives, which influence people's interactions and respectively the creation of knowledge. Realism can be recognised to be close to the philosophy of positivism but at the same time possesses clearly distinctive characteristics as the philosophy highlights the inappropriateness of exploring people's interactions in the style of natural science (Saunders et al., 2003).
According to Oates, B (2006, 292) Interpretivism is understanding the social context of an information system; the social processes by which it is developed and construed by people and through which it influences, and is influenced by, its social settings.
The philosophy, which is used in the context of the present research project, is the research philosophy of Interpretivism. Interpretivism is chosen to be the philosophical framework of the study, as the researcher believes that knowledge is a complex phenomenon, which cannot be generalised in a value-free and detached manner. Furthermore, the researcher focuses on exploring the topic by the application of critical interpretations and gradually establishing research conclusions (Remenyi et al., 1998).
3.2 Research Approach
The study of literature about research approaches outlines two distinctive research approaches, which can be used in the present research project - deductive and inductive. A deductive research approach is suggested to be suitable for scientific research, where the researcher develops a hypothesis, which is tested and examined to establish a theory.
(Hussey and Hussey, 1997)
3.2.1 Inductive Approach
In the present perspective, as the researcher aims to gradually formulate the research theory through the critical evaluation of the research variables, and as the inductive research approach follows research data to construct theory, therefore it can be suggested that the present research approach is inductive. Furthermore, the inductive research approach, which provides greater flexibility, provides the researcher with the opportunity to modify the research emphasis depending on the accumulated findings throughout the research process (Easterby-Smith et al., 2002).
3.3 Research Strategy
A research strategy can be described as the tool or tools the researcher utilizes for deal with the research question. There are six research strategies, which can be identified after studying the literature, such as: Experiment; Survey; Grounded Theory; Ethnography; Action Research and Case Study (Saunders et al., 2003).
3.3.1 Grounded Theory
This research project employs the research strategy of Grounded Theory. The researcher mainly concentrates on extracting knowledge through research in the phenomenological literature. The present research strategy, Grounded Theory, is suitable as it is expressed in the literature to be suitable for inductive reasoning or in other words, applicable to research contexts which aim to gradually establish research assumptions and propositions.
(Husey and Husey, 1997)
Although the present research project is essentially influenced by the research strategy of Grounded Theory, the researcher afterwards uses a primary research strategy of in-depth interviews or questionnaire to collect data.
3.4 Time Horizon
Time Horizon is one of the important characteristic of this research project. After studying the literature about Time Horizon, it can be recognised that there are two, Time Horizon for any research topic - Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional. According to Saunders et al., (2003; 96) a Cross-Sectional research process examines a particular phenomenon (or phenomena) at a particular time. Cross-Sectional studies often employ the survey strategy.
(Easterby-Smith et al., 2002; Robson, 2002 cited by Saunders et al., 2003; 96)
3.4.1 Longitudinal Studies
The present research work has a Longitudinal Time Horizon, as it is recognised to be appropriate to the research aim and the researcher's resources. A longitudinal research process examines particular phenomenon over a given period of time (Saunders et al., 2003; 96). In Longitudinal Studies the basic question is, 'Has there been any change over a period of time?' (Bouma and Atkinson, 1995; 114 cited by Saunders et al., 2003; 96). This question is the main stream of this research project.
3.5 Data Collection
As researcher has not found sufficient relevant document, so data collection become the main issue for the researcher. So, the present research process can be described as an exploratory one as well. It aims to reveal new insight and evaluate the researched phenomena in a new light. Furthermore, the research has a flexible approach to establishing its theoretical propositions, which does not mean that the research lacks clear direction and framework.
(Adams and Schvaneveldt, 1991)
3.5.1 Secondary Data
Information that already exists somewhere, having been collected for another purpose, using for personal purpose.
(Wong V et al., 2008:334)
The secondary data employed can be described as multiple source secondary data. Multiple source secondary data can be divided into two categories - area based, which comprises of academic sources and time series based, which focuses of commercial issues.
(Saunders et al., 2003)
3.5.2 Primary Data
Information collected for specific purpose at hand (personally).
(Wong V et al., 2008:334)
The present research project incorporates a multi-method research process, where the researcher combines secondary and primary data in the same study. This strategy is chosen as the researcher believes that both methods are significantly dependable on each other in the present research circumstance, and that secondary data provides solid theoretical foundation, whereas primary data contributes to the researcher's ability to address the most important issues in the present context (Robson, 2002).
The primary data is extracted through the conduction of in-depth interviews and questionnaire. The collection of primary data will be done in a formal way wherein the target people from bank and customers will be contacted and briefed about the information required from them. A prior appointment shall be taken from each person as per their convenience for an interview considering their preference over telephonic interview. The questionnaires will be sent across by email/post as per the requirement.
22.214.171.124 In-Depth Interviewing
In-depth interviews, also known as unstructured interviews. It is used to explore in depth a general area in which you are interested, therefore, it is called as in-depth interview. There is no predetermined list of questions to work through in this situation, although you need to have a clear idea about the aspect or aspects about that you want to explore. The interviewee is given the opportunity to talk freely about events, behaviour and beliefs in relation to the topic area, so that this type of interaction is sometimes called non-directive. It has been labelled as an informant since it is interviewee's perceptions that guide the conduct of the interview. In comparison, a respondent interview is one where the interviewer directs the interview and the interviewee responds to the questions of the researcher.
(Easterby-Smith et al., 2002; Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2005; Healey and Rawlinson, 1994; Robson, 2002)
Furthermore, in-depth interviews provide greater flexibility as they can be conducted both face-to-face and over a telephone, which is recognised not to affect the interview outcomes differently (Ghauri and Gronhaung, 2002). Â This is why in-depth interviews are a common data collection method in research projects.
Questionnaire includes all techniques of data collection in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order.
(Devaus 2002 cited by Saunders, M et al., 2009; 360)
Most types of questionnaire contain open and closed questions. Open questions, sometimes referred to as open-ended questions (Dillman D 2007 cited by Saunders, M et al., 2009; 374), allow respondents to give answers in their own way (Flink 2003a cited by Saunders, M et al., 2009; 374). Where closed questions, sometimes referred to as closed-ended question (Dillman D 2007 cited by Saunders, M et al., 2009; 374), or forced-choice questions (Devaus 2002 cited by Saunders, M et al., 2009; 374), provide a number of alternative answers from which respondents have to choose.
Sampling is the technique applied in primary research for facilitating the researcher in choosing the most appropriate and relevant amount of data for the particular exploration.
(Saunders M et al., 2003)
This technique contributes to the researcher's aim of identifying and exploring in-depth the key themes in a homogeneous environment, which in the present case is represented by the sample of visitors of MCB. The researcher chooses 10 customers, who are using internet banking of MCB and 10 employees of the bank to get the data necessary to conduct the research.
3.5.4 Data Analysis:
There are two ways of analyzing the qualitative data, content analysis and grounded analysis. The data collected by the interviews will be analyzed using the content analyzing. The data generated by the questionnaires will be analyzed by describing ranges of response and categorizing the responses and placing them under the respective range. All the gathered data will be then reviewed for the similarities and differences and finally specific conclusions will be made using multivariate or regression analysis.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
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