08:30-09:00 Welcome Coffee
09:00-09:05 Welcome Speech: WSBI-ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose
09:05-09:30 Keynote Speech
09:30-10:30 Panel 1: Anchoring trust and adjusting regulation for a growing economy
At a time when growth is crucial for Europe, the capacity for banks to finance the economy should be leveraged by renewed trust in the banking system. Financial stability and financing of the economy should go in hand, instead of being separated work streams. Consumer trust in the banking system is essential, but respect of the role that regulators and supervisors paly is also essential to make it work. This is why it is now time for a dialogue in order to adapt bank business models to the new realities (digitalisation, new behaviours of the customers, low interest rate environment) that are changing the foundations of banks. The first test of this idealistic new deal between banks, regulators/supervisors and customers is the capital and resolution package review. The proportionality principle (based on size, risks, business model, etc.) is one of the threads which can be followed in order to adjust regulation to the reality faced by locally-focused savings and retail banks. Its application requires strong engagement from all parties but ESBG believes it worthwhile as it is the key to an optimal local banking system able to finance SMEs and thus the EU economy as a whole.
10:30-11:00 Coffee Break
11:00-12:00 Panel 2: Sourcing local banks for a sustainable future
The recent creation of the EC expert group on sustainable finance has put this topic in the limelight at European level. However, savings and retail banks have a long tradition of social responsibility, as illustrated by their numerous social commitments and their specific governance. In the area of green finance, due to their proximity to households and SMEs, they could also play a prominent role provided that the decision makers, both at international and European levels, give them the possibility or the endeavours to do so. Sustainable practices should be local first and savings and retail banks can offer their network, their expertise and their support in order to achieve what will benefit society as a whole. The shared values of Europe's savings and retail banks have sustainability at their core, and offer investment opportunities in buildings and infrastructure to reduce their carbon footprint and provide a greener world for the future.
12:00-13:00 Panel 3: Policy implications of automation
The fast-changing role of technology in everyday business means banks need to find solutions to improve customer service and develop an efficient, safe environment for bank deposits. The rise of fintechs and automation of payment services is leading to a cashless society with less face time between banks and their customers. This automation process raises a few reflection points regarding:
Cost reduction: it may not translate in a sacrifice of quality in customer experience. Since the primary target customer population values cross-platform solutions, straight-through responses on a 24x7 basis, easy to use services and low cost, and because these customers have choice and are less loyal, AI-supported services must be at least as satisfying as traditional services.
Fairness: how can a bank customer be assured that an algorithm has been designed fairly, how will biases be ironed out of such systems? In order to live up to their reputation of trust, banks should devise the policies and related communication to inform, educate, and placate such concerns.
Job reductions and displacements due to the introduction of AI processes: this might require sustained public policy work, advanced planning and dialogue, and investment in retraining and recruitment.
Taxation: some people propose that as robots substitute employees, there should be an impact on taxes and social contributions of the entities deploying such robots. The banking industry should formulate a view on this aspect.
Cybersecurity requirements: new assurance processes that also encompass supplier, partner and customer systems and devices will need to be deployed and maintained.
13:00-13:05 Wrap-up by WSBI-ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose
13:05-14:30 Networking Lunch
More information coming soon.