European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) asks for a postponement of the Basel III implementation date

On 20 October, the European Banking Industry Committee (EBIC) submitted a joint letter to the co-legislators asking for a postponement of the Basel III implementation date in the European Union. EBIC strongly supports the ongoing legislative process aiming at finalizing the Banking Package. Given the substantial and comprehensive nature of the forthcoming legislative changes brought about by CRR III, a minimum of 18 months between the publication of CRR III rules in the Official Journal of the EU and the effective implementation date of the new rules will be necessary. Assuming CRR III publication in the Official Journal by end of 2023, EBIC suggests an initial application no earlier than 1 July 2025. Any postponement in the publication would require a further commensurate shift in the CRR III application.

1. CRR III mandates the European Banking Authority (EBA) to undertake tasks related to over 70 Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) and Implementing Technical Standards (ITS) (altogether the EBA has 127 mandates) which must be factored into banks’ implementation of CRR III. A number of the EBA standards and guidelines are of high importance and mandatory for banks’ CRR III implementation to succeed and for banks to start reporting under the new rules as of the first application date.

1. Besides the fact that EU institutions/supervisors need time to perform their legally established mandates, EU banks need a reasonable amount of time to transition to new regulations, allowing them to upgrade their systems and adapt to the new calculation and reporting requirements in a controlled manner.

2. There is also an issue of practical alignment between the supervisory reporting and the capital requirements – as the two cannot be decoupled and the banks cannot implement the requirements without the reporting, which takes time to set up.

Finally, a postponement would reflect the process in other Basel jurisdictions, such as the USA or the UK. Even if the Basel III framework may not be fully applied to all institutions in these countries, the postponement of the first application date has already been announced there.

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ESBG response to the EC public consultation on the proposed Financial Data Access Regulation (FIDA)

In June 2023, the European Commission (EC) launched the call for feedback on the Financial Data Access Regulation (FIDA).

FIDA, previously referred to as Open finance Framework (OFF), is part of the EU digital finance strategy initiatives. FIDA aims to enable data sharing and third-party access for a wide range of financial sectors and products, in line with data protection and consumer protection rules. It is based on the principle that financial services customers own and control the data they supply, and the data created on their behalf.

FIDA is a hot topic for ESBG members and after meaningful exchanges, on 23rd October, ESBG responded to EC consultation submitting the ESBG Position Paper on FIDA.

Some of ESBG positions concern the definitions around customer data and data sharing schemes, the nature of compensation costs, customer permissions clarifications, and the timeframe as well as approach preferred to join the financial data sharing schemes.

The executive summary of the ESBG Position Paper on FIDA can be found here.

Executive SummaryESBG Position Paper

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WSBI welcomes Kyrgyzstan and Switzerland to the network with two new members

WSBI welcomes Kyrgyzstan and Switzerland to the network with two new members

New members from Kyrgyzstan, RSK Bank, and Switzerland, the Frankfurter Bankgesellschaft AG, welcomed to the WSBI’s global family at the General Assembly in Marrakech on 13 October.

RSK Bank was established in the Kyrgyz Republic as a savings and credit company in 1996. Its main activities currently include attracting deposits, opening and managing client accounts, processing payments, providing loans and guarantees, conducting cash management services, executing securities transactions, and foreign currency operations.

The objective of RSK Bank is to emerge as a leading institution in the market for retail services and small to medium-sized businesses. RSK Bank in Kyrgyzstan is a pioneer in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices. The bank integrates sustainability into its operations with a focus on green finance and responsible funding for social and environmental projects. They also incorporate sustainability principles in all aspects of their business, practice waste recycling, and ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. RSK Bank is one of the first banks in Kyrgyzstan to be certified for “Best Waste Management Practice.”

The Frankfurter Bankgesellschaft AG was already indirectly connected to the WSBI as it is the private bank of the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe and is a fully-owned subsidiary of Helaba. The new Swiss member shares the values of the WSBI network as it is committed to building long and close relations with its customers and carries over 100 years of history.

From left to right: Mr Al-Amine Nejjar, WSBI Vice president and President of the Africa Regional Group, and President of the Board of Directors of the host, AL BARID BANK; Mr Peter Simon, WSBI-ESBG Managing Director; Mr Ulanbek Nogaev, Chairperson of RSK Bank; Ms Aichurek Zhakypova, Deputy Chairperson of RSK Bank.

Event Pictures

WSBI celebrates 29th African Regional Event in Marrakech

WSBI is delighted to announce the resounding success of its 29th African Regional Event and side events held in Marrakech on 11-13 October. Our generous host was AL BARID BANK, who holds the Regional Presidency in Africa. 

Commencing on October 11th with a public one-day conference on Financial Inclusion, the event offered a comprehensive exploration of this pivotal theme. We were privileged to host esteemed keynote speakers who provided a compelling introduction to the conference: Mr. Ryad Mezzour, Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade, and Ms. Aouatif Hayar, Moroccan Minister for Solidarity, Social Integration, and the Family.

The first panel centred on socioeconomic empowerment for women, a critical focus in the African region. Notable participants included a member of the United Nations High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Managing Director of EBRD, the director of  the Fondation Marocaine pour l’éducation financière; and Ms. Cynthia Ikponmwosa, the managing director of WSBI member LAPO Nigeria. These experts emphasized the significance of education, financial inclusion, and financial literacy in driving women’s social and economic empowerment in Africa.

Dr. Wissam H. Fattouh, Secretary General of Union Arab Bank, inaugurated the second panel by addressing the role of Fintech in financial inclusion. The discussion delved into the impact of Fintech on financial inclusion, regulatory considerations, and the importance of cross-border collaboration, providing diverse perspectives and expertise.

The next panel examined the impact of agent banking on the development of MSMEs, offering insights into how agent banking positively influences MSMEs and benefits entrepreneurs in the region.

The final panel focused on climate change adaptation and resilience, featuring Ms. Valerie Hickey from the World Bank, Mr. Diederick Zambon, Acting Director for the European Investment Bank, and Mr. Davide Forcella, Director of Just Institutes. This discussion shed light on the implications of increased climate risk for affected customers, particularly rural households, and emphasized the roles that financial service providers, implementers, and funders can play in preparing vulnerable populations against climate-related challenges. The event concluded with a speech by Mr. Khalid Safir, Managing Director of Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (Maroc).

On the following day, 12 October, the Annual Meeting for African members was held in the morning. This gathering provides the WSBI African community with a unique opportunity to come together physically once a year. It serves not only as a platform for members to get acquainted but also as a forum to present the significant achievements of the past year and outline the primary priorities for the upcoming one. This meeting holds particular significance for WSBI African advisors, as it plays a pivotal role in shaping the WSBI 2024 work plan for the African region.

In the 2023 annual meeting, we were privileged to host representatives from ten African institutions: LAPO Nigeria, Tanzania Commercial Bank, Botswana Savings Bank, FINCA Uganda, Caixa Economica de Cabo Verde, Caisse d’Epargne de Madagascar, La Poste Burkina Faso, People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB), CAISSE DE DEPOT ET DE GESTION (Maroc), and, of course, the host, AL BARID BANK.

The afternoon of 12 October was dedicated to the WSBI statutory meetings: the 58th President Committee and the 40th Board of Directors. The day concluded with a splendid gala dinner, graciously hosted by AL BARID BANK.

On 13 October the morning was dedicated to a Scale2Save side event title « WSBI as a catalyst for unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs ». It brought together representatives from all regions of our network to share experiences on the topic. Wendy Teleki, Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, housed at the World Bank, was the keynote. Later that day, Mrs. Teleki witnessed as WSBI President, Isidro Fainé, and Managing Director, Peter Simon signed the WE Finance Code. The Code aims to promote the reduction of the economic gap that affects women entrepreneurs globally, with a special focus on those living in developing countries.

In the afternoon, the 30th WSBI General Assembly took place. It was followed by our traditional reception in the context of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings also held in Marrakech at the time.

WSBI expresses its warmest thanks to all our kind participants, speakers and sponsors who made these events a great success.


2023 Innovation Forum - Reimagining Banking

2023 Innovation Forum - Reimagining Banking, Embracing Digital Frontiers for Responsible Innovation

We are thrilled to invite you to the WSBI 2023 Innovation Forum and study visit. These events will take place from 30 October to 1 November in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. These are official satellite events of Hong Kong Fintech Week, the world's largest fintech gathering.

The WSBI Innovation Forum offers an unparalleled platform for socially responsible, regionally rooted savings and retail banks to delve into key issues surrounding innovation and digital transformation. This year’s theme is “Reimagining Banking: Embracing Digital Frontiers for Responsible Innovation”.

The WSBI study visit “A Deep Dive into the Future of Fintech and Digital Banking” provides an insider’s perspective on the rapidly evolving realms. The visit aims to guide participants through some of Asia’s most innovative companies that are revolutionizing banking and financial inclusion, all in a region that is at the vanguard of digital advancement.

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As part of the 2023 study visit to Hong Kong and Shenzhen, a delegation of nearly 20 WSBI members from Europe, Africa, and Asia led by the WSBI-ESBG Managing Director, Peter Simon, had the privilege to tour the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub situated within the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).
During this enlightening visit, our delegation delved into comprehensive discussions centered on the collaborative strategies of central banks in the region and beyond with the wider banking community. The pivotal topic of discussion? The initiation and advancement of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) with a vision to promote broader financial inclusion and to develop enhanced financing avenues for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
We are thankful for this opportunity for intellectual exchange and are keenly invested in monitoring and contributing to the evolution of digital banking paradigms globally.

The journey of our WSBI study visit to Hong Kong and Shenzhen on Innovation and Fintech continued, bringing us to the heart of Hong Kong – the BEAST Centre of our esteemed member, the Bank of East Asia, Limited.
The afternoon was a whirlwind of insights and knowledge exchange. BEA’s startup and esteemed tech partners, including giants like Google, Microsoft, and FORMS, shared profound perspectives on the challenges and opportunities intrinsic to data utilization and the seamless integration of next-gen AI within banking operations.
What resonated most was the undeniable role Hong Kong serves as the nerve center for fintech within the Greater Bay Area. Truly, an afternoon of inspiration and forward-thinking discourse.

Stay tuned for recordings of the event

2023 Innovation Forum - Reimagining Banking

Links available soon

Stream Link 1

Stream Link 2

Stream Link 3


ESBG: preparatory phase for the digital euro calls for a true public-private partnership between the ECB and banking sector

ESBG: preparatory phase for the digital euro calls for a true public-private partnership between the ECB and banking sector

The ESBG appreciates today’s decision by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) to move to the preparatory phase for the digital euro. ESBG underlines that the current collaboration between the ECB and the banking sector should further increase as only a true public-private partnership can be the cornerstone of a successful digital euro. The next phase will entail critical decisions across the ECB’s development, and the related legislative acts. Effective delegation of responsibility and utilisation of expertise between the public and private sectors should be diligently considered to ensure maximum value of the digital euro to European consumers and financial services.

Brussels, 18 October 2023 – The European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) acknowledges with keen interest the decision by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) to move to the preparatory phase of the digital euro project.

The ESBG appreciates the involvement of the various stakeholders, notably the banking industry, during the investigation phase, and for the ECB’s continued dialogue with the European banking sector. It underlines that further discussions are required to tailor the possible digital euro to a product that is attractive to all stakeholders – notably consumers, merchants, and banks. Only a true public-private partnership can be the cornerstone of a successful digital euro, and therefore the ESBG is calling upon the ECB to further increase the collaboration with the banking sector during this new project phase.

With this collaboration in mind, the ESBG welcomes the decision’s adjoining report by the ECB and Eurosystem. The report presents the conclusions of the ECB’s investigative phase and envisions a digital euro accessible to all individuals and businesses through supervised intermediaries such as banks. The ESBG now looks forward to working with the ECB, to realise the design of the digital euro and fulfil the role of EU banks as trusted partners in ensuring universal access to the digital euro.

As the decision of the Governing Council of the ECB marks the end of the investigation phase, and kicks off the preparatory phase, Peter Simon, Managing Director of ESBG, is looking forward to increase the constructive discussions in the phase ahead. “A possible introduction of a digital euro is an important step that could impact some of the core activities of our members. We stand ready to contribute to the discussions and to ensure that the voices of the savings and retail banks in Europe are being heard.”

“At ESBG, we have been engaging in the development of a digital euro via various stakeholder groups of the European Central Bank (ECB) throughout the whole investigation phase ever since it was launched in 2021”, Sofia Lindh Possne, Head of Group Regulatory Affairs, Swedbank and Chairperson of the ESBG Task Force on Central Bank Digital Currencies, stresse. “A ground-breaking innovative project like the digital euro requires a prudent approach to maintain the financial stability of banks and to ensure a level playing field in the European payments market”.

ESBG members stand ready to contribute to the discussions in this new phase to ensure that the voices of the savings and retail banks in Europe are being heard.

YOUR CONTACT:
Diederik Bruggink
Head of Payments, Digital Finance and Innovation
diederik.bruggink@wsbi.esbg
Phone: +32 2 211 11 21


ESBG 2023 Financial Education Conference

Registrations

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ESBG 2023 Financial Education Conference.

Financial education is a core competence of the global network of savings and retail banks.

To be used on the day of the event: #FINED23

By focusing on the Youth, ESBG members are ensuring that financial education is passed down through families and vital skills are learnt to set up their futures.

This conference gathers an international reputed multidisciplinary panel of experts ranging from EU Commission, country financial regulators, Central Banks and private sector that will actively discuss challenges faced by youth and propose possible solutions to develop a better financial education in our societies.

The European Commission has declared 2023 the Year of Skills, which of course includes financial education, one of life’s most important skills, in our opinion. In addition, the European Commission and OECD-INFE have worked together on a financial competency framework for youth.

Social media platforms are a hive of information – some reliable, some not. By learning how to identify what is good information, and what could be more risky, young people can learn to protect their money and help it grow in a safe way, with calculated risks.
This timely conference coincides with the World Savings Day on 31st October.

Agenda at a glance

09:35-09:45 Welcome Address:
Peter Simon, Managing Director, WSBI-ESBG

Peter Simon

Managing Director, WSBI-ESBG

09:45-10:10 Keynote I:

Gabriela Ramos

Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO

Montserrat Martínez Parera

Vice Chair, National Securities Market Commission (CNMV)

10:10-11:20 Panel I: Youth of Today, Decisions of Tomorrow

Anu Raijas

Finland’s Leading National Expert and
Researcher of Financial Literacy. (Bank of Finland )

Roeland Monasch

CEO, Aflatoun

Kristina Velkovska

Chief Finance Officer at JA Europe

Karolin Schriever

Executive Board Member, DSGV

11:50-12:00 Winning teams of ESML, European Stock Market Learning (10’ video)

12:00-12:20 Keynote II
Miles Larbey, Head of the Financial Consumer Protection,
Education and Inclusion Unit, (OECD)

Miles Larbey

Head of the Financial Consumer Protection, Education and Inclusion Unit, (OECD)

12:20-13:20 Panel II: Growing Enthusiasm, Getting Involved

Marcel Haag

Director, Horizontal policies (DG FISMA at the European Commission)

Maria Iride Vangelisti

Director of Financial Education (Banca d’Italia)

Philip List

Director of the Financial Life Park (FLiP) (Erste Group Bank AG) / Advocate for Financial Literacy & Inclusion

Noemie Papp

Senior expert, conduct, payments and consumers  – European Banking Authority (EBA)

13:20-13:30 Closing Remarks and Wrap-up

Dominique Goursolle-Nouhaud

President, ESBG European Saving Banks Group. Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne FNCE

Moderator

Moderator

Registrations

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From the Press - International Media Coverage

WSBI Joins the World Bank in Promoting Economic Prosperity for Women Entrepreneurs

Published 13/10/2023 by EuropePress/Social EP/Responsible

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"RSK Bank" is the first bank in Kyrgyzstan in WSBI

12 October 2023, Kaktus Media, Kyrgyzstan

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Al Barid Bank-WSBI: Focus on the role of financial inclusion in promoting economic growth

Written by l'Opinion on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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Postal Bank Hosts Boards of the Global Institute of Provident Funds and Retail Banks (WSBI)

Written by Casa 24 Morocco

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New alliance to promote female entrepreneurship and combat economic gender inequality

Written by Catalunyapress Editorial | Saturday, 14 October 2023

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Ghisolfi in Marrakech for the global group of Savings Banks

Written by La Voce di Alba

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Al Barid Bank: Host of the Meetings of the World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI)

Written by Maroc Diplomatique

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Minister of Solidarity: The government is studying ways to finance women entrepreneurs and cooperatives in a comprehensive manner and in good conditions

Written by Anbae Tv Morocco

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WSBI sealed a new alliance with We-Fi, the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative housed in the World Bank

WSBI sealed a new alliance with We-Fi, the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative housed in the World Bank

As part of the WSBI events in Marrakech, in parallel to the IMF and WB annual meetings, Mr. Isidro Fainé, president of the World Savings Banks and Retail Banks Institute (WSBI) and Mr. Peter Simon, WSBI Managing Director, in the presence of Ms. Wendy Teleki, Head of We-Fi Secretariat (housed in World Bank), signed the WE Finance Code to promote the reduction of the economic gap that affects women entrepreneurs globally, with a special focus on those living in developing countries

This agreement is an opportunity for leaders in the financial sector, including banks, funds, fintechs, regulators and investors, among others, to address female entrepreneurship, key to economic growth, social development and job creation, and boost economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs internationally. Reducing the financial inequality faced by 400 million women entrepreneurs throughout the global economy (with an unmet financing need of $1.7 trillion), could translate to $5-6 trillion in value for the global economy.

The World Savings Banks and Retail Banks Institute (WSBI), organized its General Assembly and the annual meeting of the African Regional Group in Marrakech between the 11th and October 13, with the collaboration of its Moroccan partner Al Barid Bank and within the framework of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Within this framework, the conference “WSBI as a catalyst for unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs” featured an opening speech by Wendy Teleki, Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Secretariat, and contributions from entities associated with WSBI: AGFUND, Banco Estado, LAPO Microfinance Bank and Swedfund.

Ms. Teleki presented the WE Finance Code, a commitment by financial service providers (FSPs), regulators, development banks, and other financial ecosystem players to work together to increase funding provided to women-led micro, small and medium enterprises (WMSMEs) around the world, so that they can grow and add value to the economy and their communities.

The speakers analyzed four key areas to promote female entrepreneurship: empowerment, reducing the digital divide, developing innovative solutions with a gender perspective and adapted to climate change, and ensuring the preparation of FSPs for investment.

WSBI, international commitment to female entrepreneurship

WSBI, created in 1924, is the oldest banking association in the world and represents more than 6,400 savings and retail banks from around the globe. One of WSBI’s strategic objectives is to build inclusive and sustainable financial sectors.

Along these lines, the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute created the Scale2Save initiative in alliance with the Mastercard Foundation with the objective of involving the different actors in the financial sector to evaluate, design and implement projects that help generate resilience and sustainable solutions for the most vulnerable groups. Understanding the impact that the financial sector has on the provision of services to women entrepreneurs, the actions that lead to greater gender equality and agreeing on common metrics that serve these objectives is part of these efforts. The initiative has already managed to develop projects in places such as Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

WSBI’s commitment to promoting women’s economic empowerment goes far beyond Scale2Save. Thus, WSBI has today sealed a new alliance with We-Fi, whose objective is to unlock financing for women-led businesses in developing countries.

About WSBI: Founded in 1924, WSBI brings together savings and retail banks from 64 countries, representing savings and retail banks worldwide. WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry and provides a platform for knowledge exchange between member banks. Its aim is to achieve sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth and job creation. Supporting a diversified range of financial services to meet customer needs, WSBI favors an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair. WSBI recognizes that there are always lessons to be learned from savings and retail banks from different environments and economic circumstances. It, therefore, fosters the exchange of experience and best practices among its members and supports their advancement as sound, well-governed, and inclusive financial institutions.

About Scale2Save: A six-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and WSBI, Scale2Save is a programme to establish the viability of low–balance savings accounts and to understand the extent to which savings allow vulnerable people to boost their financial resilience and wellbeing. Programme work is anchored by developing viable business models with a broad mix of financial service providers that create high-usage cases that widen financial inclusion. Scale2Save empowers partner FSPs to become savings–driven, customer-centric institutions by adding value to all stakeholders along the service value chain. That means weaving programme aims into the fabric of partner bank strategies, encouraging needed culture change within their organisations while fostering a continuous learning environment for people working within them.

Contact Info:
Head of Department – Communications
Nihan Çevirgen
e.: nihan.cevirgen@wsbi-esbg.org
t.: +32 2 211 1190

Media Coverage

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Savings and Retail Banking in Africa 2022 WSBI survey of Financial Inclusion for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)

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Micro savings, maximum impact.

Savings and Retail Banking in Africa 2022 WSBI survey of Financial Inclusion for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs)

The Savings and Retail Banking in Africa report aims to help improve access to financial services for financially disadvantaged people in Africa. The annual series was launched by the WSBI in 2018 but interrupted during 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2022 edition is based upon research conducted with WSBI members in up to 34 countries on the African continent and produced in collaboration with FinMark Trust under the Scale2Save programme.

This report focuses on ways financial institutions, regulators and donors can deploy financial inclusion initiatives to develop the MSME sector in Africa. Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) also play an important role in enhancing financial inclusion, especially in rural areas. For examples both CARE International4 and World Vision International5 help mobilise savings and improve the availability of loans, build digital capacity, and aid small business development, enabling both households and businesses to make better use of financial services.

Full Report

Scale2Save