GSB honoured with APEA for Corporate Excellence 2021

WSBI’s member in Thailand received prestigious award.

Brussels, 1 July - Government Savings Bank (GSB), WSBI’s member in Thailand, received the prestigious Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards (APEA) 2021 for ‘Corporate Excellence’ in the category of financial business on a virtual ceremony on 30 June.

The APEA are awarded by Enterprise Asia, an independent organisation that supports the development of business capabilities to promote leading entrepreneurs across the continent.

The ‘Corporate Excellence’ award recognises an organisation with excellent management, outstanding performance that reflects efficient operations, sustainable growth and an integrated learning to develop the potential of employees.

This award particularly recognises Government Savings Bank for its operations to help entrepreneurs and SMEs to improve their incomes and life quality, reducing social inequality. This is in line with the government’s policy and GSB’s social commitment and mission.

ESBG welcomes announcement of harmonised European Digital Identity

The European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) welcomes the intention to remove fragmentation and to build a harmonised legal framework across Europe, recognising the role of Member States as providers of the European Digital Identity Wallet.

BRUSSELS, 15 June 2021 – ESBG welcomes the intention of the European Commission (EC) to end the current regulatory and technological fragmentation of electronic identification across EU Member States,  as announced on 3 June, with the creation of a regulatory framework for a European Digital Identity.

The proposed harmonisation would help correct some of the shortcomings of the current eIDAS Regulation, whose partial (only public services are included) and heterogeneous adoption by Member States resulted in a highly underutilised ecosystem in the Union, particularly for cross-border access to services.

“The ESBG and its members welcome the Commission’s proposal and believe that it can contribute to the further integration of the European Union. We look forward to the coming discussions in both Parliament and the Council”, said Andreas Widegren the Chair of the ESBG FinTech Regulation Committee and Swedbank’s Senior Manager.

ESBG also supports the EC’s aim to ensure that at least 80% of EU citizens get access to digital ID solutions by 2030. Today, only 59% of EU citizens have access to trusted and secure eID schemes across borders.

The new proposal not only extends the eIDAS but it also puts forward an ambitious, interoperable EU-wide scheme centered around Digital Identity Wallets, to be issued by Member States as providers of legal identity.

A key factor will be the involvement of the private sector in the creation of the Trust Scheme, in a “process for close and structured cooperation”, as referred in recital 36 of the Regulation proposed by the Commission.

ESBG calls for the specificities of the financial sector to be taken into account in this involvement. As relying parties, banks should be aware of the chain of trust in data sharing, including all the actors involved.

ESBG is also in close collaboration with the other European Credit Sector Associations, in the context of the Inter-ECSA eID Task Force, which brings together experts from 36 financial institutions with the goal of expressing a common position for the whole sector. ESBG, together with the ECSAs, stands ready to further engage on the strategic issue of digital identity with the Commission, EU co-legislators and a wide range of stakeholders both at European and national level.

ESBG Response to Questionnaire on VAT rules for financial services

The exemption of financial and insurance services from VAT was introduced in 1977 as an exception to the general rule that VAT is to be levied on all services supplied for consideration by a taxable person.

The definitions and their interpretations need an adaptation, development and harmonization, which in our view is necessary to avoid discrepancies in the application of the exemptions and to contribute to legal security. More specifically, the VAT exemptions are too tight, and the definitions of exempted services are not up to date. They are not taking care of digitalized business approaches and banking services. Moreover, the division of work processes is not reflected properly, e.g. payment services: preparatory services are taxable. A modern definition of effort pooling would be needed and, again, the overall legal certainty could be increased. The lack of input tax deduction or the input tax allocation are a problem in some Member States (definitive cost burden). Outsourcing regularly is taxed. They can not use Cost Sharing Arrangements.



WSBI supports International Day of Family Remittances

Brussels, 16 June - WSBI supports the 2021 Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development. This virtual Summit will focus on the role of remittances to strengthen market recovery amidst the current global pandemic, and to improve the resilience of migrant workers and the communities where they live. In particular, the Summit will seek to share and analyze practical strategies and mechanisms related to digital and financial inclusion of migrants and their families.

The Summit will see the observance of the UN-adopted International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), in recognition of the tireless abnegation of almost 200 million migrant workers who send money home for the wellbeing of their families in communities of origin, and who have demonstrated unprecedented resilience in these times of crisis.

In its efforts to increase financial inclusion, WSBI has always pointed to the importance of leveraging remittances as a stepping stone to financial inclusion. WSBI has created the FairRemit framework and platform with the objective to provide fair and transparent pricing and enable real-time cross-border small value remittances. The objective of the framework is to offer a fair and transparent channel for remittances, in accordance with the World Bank/BIS General Principles on Remittances. For more information on FairRemit, do not hesitate to get in touch with Mina Zhang  at WSB