Head of National Bank of Kazakhstan: Bloomberg’s report not accurate

глава Нацбанка Т. Сулейменов
Timur Suleimenov has led the central bank since September 2023. Photo credit: National Bank of Kazakhstan

The head of the National Bank denied last week’s Bloomberg report, saying that the national payments system is not intended to replace existing payment systems. NBK will not interfere with payment pricing or force banks to join, reports Kazinform News Agency.

At his regular press conference, the head of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Timur Suleimenov, spoke in detail about payments systems in the country.

Journalists asked Suleimenov about Bloomberg’s report on the National Bank’s plans to weaken the influence of Kazakhstan’s largest banks in the payments market.

“I wanted to emphasize that Bloomberg’s report that we want to reduce the monopoly or something like that was not entirely accurately conveyed,” replied the head of the National Bank.

Suleimenov stressed that there is no confrontation with the banks that leads in the cashless payments market.

“Their management and owners are actively working with us,” he noted. “There is no confrontation based on us wanting to weaken their position and them resisting. I would like to clearly convey this: banks are actively working [with the National Bank - editor's note], they understand the usefulness of the system, for you and me - consumers. They understand the economic benefits for themselves: if you expand the market, then you get more transactions. ... This is a completely free market initiative, that is, it is not something we are forcing everyone into.”

Answering questions about the reliability and protection of personal data, the head of the National Bank said that national payments will be an addition to the existing infrastructure, which has already been created and is functioning successfully.

“We believe that the main part will remain with the banks. We are not saying that we will take anything away from them and do it our own way. That part, the infrastructure that banks have, remains with them. We are simply laying “bridges” between them for simplicity. This is not something huge, not a new system that replaces everything that banks have developed so far,” Suleimenov explained, “Banks themselves will create products and continue competing. We are not going to interfere there in any way.”

National Bank does not intend to interfere with pricing policy.

“We are not going to set these tariffs ourselves. We are creating a tariff council, where the banks themselves will have seats and say: ‘This is the tariff, it will be distributed in such and such a way.’ We have complete transparency here. And once again I want to say thank banks for understanding and supporting this.”

National Bank plans to launch the system in pilot mode within a year.

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