Sustainable Retail Banking: making globalisation inclusive for all
New Delhi, India I 15-16 November 2018
Next World Congress: Paris, 18-19 November 2021
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The WSBI World Congress in Delhi brought together WSBI and ESBG members and interested retail bankers to discuss topics that define the future of the retail banking sector and address them to the worldwide policymaking community. Held in mid-November 2018, the congress featured speakers and panelists from WSBI membership in some 80 countries as well as experts from the banking sector around the world. It offered the attendees insights during high-impact panel discussions. The event also provided a chance to create and strengthen business relationships among attendees and to promote banking industry products and services to an international audience of retail bankers and policymakers.
Event background, policy topics
Is the tide turning against globalisation? Are too many people feeling left behind by global growth? These questions are being asked more and more, reinforced by the tendency of some countries to shift towards protectionism… Yet, while raising living standards, globalisation is a positive force able to lift many people out of poverty. Over the past half-century, globalisation has brought many benefits to the world economy. Openness to trade enhanced competition and spread technology; income and jobs increased. Stronger income growth allowed global poverty and cross-country gaps to decline.
However, very few citizens experience this positive force in their everyday life. Inequalities still exist and are rising. In such context, local savings and retail banks' role is undeniable.
The role the financial sector plays
The financial sector plays an important role when it comes to globalisation. Trade integration relies on financial links such as for payments and investment, creates additional financial links and stimulates foreign direct investment. The financial sector and global trade form a symbiotic relationship.
At the local level, globalisation allows citizens to access a greater variety of goods too, while inward investment provides jobs and skills to workers. While countries open to trade grow faster, their living standards tend to rise as well.
Globalisation proves positive impact on SMEs and local communities. It provides more employment opportunities, gives them access to wider markets and availability of a greater variety of goods. In return, businesses trigger innovation, add new jobs to the economy, which has a positive impact on workers. Very often, the main obstacle to such developments is financing. Here is the role of retail banking: providing such support.
Among financial service sector players, savings and retail banks demonstrate the strongest regional presence. Anchored by a vast branch network, those banks also harness digital customer channels as a testament to that presence. As traditional partners of their local, private and commercial firms, savings and retail banks are uniquely placed to accompany their clients on their international expansion and relay the benefits of globalisation to local communities. Ideally placed to help the private sector adjust to new economic realities, retail banks also place extra focus on social sustainability. Given the current context of post economic crisis, sustainable retail banking gained prominence and appears as a fair trade-off between individuals, business and investors.
Savings and retail banks provide financing to local SMEs so that they can go and conquer the world, a moment marked by the global and local joining hands to create a better future for all people. These banks base their financial decisions on the needs of people and SMEs, and thus positively impact finance businesses that provide benefit to society.
So that everyone gets the most out of globalisation, domestic policies must guarantee a more equal redistribution of the growth generated and fuelled by globalisation. As stated by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in her speech “Building a more resilient and inclusive global economy", the world economy needs to be based on a foundation of sound domestic policies, combined with a steadfast commitment to international cooperation.
India: a gigantic retail banking market in the making
India's digital revolution means more and more of its citizens will gain wider access to the financial system. Among countries with the lowest access to digital payments in the world, India sees digital technologies as an opportunity to connect unprivileged and poor people – the unbanked – to financial services such as savings, loans, insurance. A blessing in rural areas in particular, digital access marks a change from cash-based economic existance. That matter greatly to policymakers and financial institutions in India, one of the most cash-intensive economies on the planet as 97% of all transactions involve cash.
In 2014, Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of a programme aimed at financial inclusion which priority was to ensure that each Indian household has a bank account. Accessible financial services had to become global and affordable. In a developing country as India, banks play an important role in mobilising savings and allocating credit to trigger investment and production. Several measures have been settled to reach such goals in India. The country's Financial Stability and Development Council, armed with a special mandate to promote financial inclusion and financial literacy, and The Reserve Bank of India and the government, play an important role to build infrastructures and raise awareness.
Considerable investments in creating infrastructure have been, and still are, made to offer various solutions such as mobile banking, e-wallets or virtual cards. Digital-only banking in India is based on the Aadhaar infrastructure, the world's largest biometric ID system with 99% of the Indian population now enrolled. Each receive a Unique Identification Number (UID) that can be used as a permanent financial address and thus facilitates financial inclusion of the more economically vulverable groups within Indian society. The country has been able to provide an electronic ID to more than one billion Indian citizens in just 10 years.
As a result, an enormous amount of bank accounts have been opened during recent years within the country. Relatedly, studies show the positive impact of bank branches and retail banks on India GDP expansion, with financial inclusion being strongly linked with economic progress and development.
Many reasons why you should attend this event
Many speakers and panellists from throughout the world will attend the 25th WSBI World Congress and share their experience and views on globalisation, financial inclusion and the role played by savings and retail banks in both. The event provides a forum to hear about how those banks build their infrastructure to support payments, make credit decisions, provide financial advice work while bringing the benefits of globalisation to people on the ground.
Attendees got to know better about robots breakthrough in manufacturing and how to cope with the threats it could bring. Questions that emerge include: what's left of the human dimension of work, how to train the workforce, what about social protection and what influence on banks? A particular focus will be made on India's advancement on the digital front. Attendees explored how this can lead to a higher level of financial inclusion. They also compared different models, from financial institutions in developing countries and their European counterparts.
Next World Congress: Paris in 2021
The next World Congress will be held in Paris on 18-19 November 2021. >> Learn more
World Congress 2018 speeches
• Queen Máxima message to the WSBI World Congress • Outgoing President Heinrich Hassis' opening address • President Isidro Fainé's closing remarks • Javier Solana's speech on interdependence & responsibility • Rajnish Kumar (Chairman of State Bank of India) welcome address • Francisco Uría (KPMG) speech on the importance of savings and retail banks • Michael Hamp (IFAD) speech on rural & local development