The 18th WSBI Postal Savings Banks Forum took place on 20th January 2016, preceded by the 1st WSBI MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Conference on 19th January 2016. Both events have been hosted by WSBI Member Al Barid Bank in Marrakech, Morocco.
1st WSBI MENA ConferenceAbout 50 participants joined on the first day of the event to debate about the financial inclusion ecosystem in the MENA region. In the process of overcoming challenges related to this issue, WSBI plays an essential role. Among others, key issues such as low interest rate margin, regulation and the impact of digitisation on payment system have been discussed. Other priority aspects for the MENA countries include gender imbalance and a disparity between urban and rural areas.
Mr Jaloul Ayed, Former Minister of Finance of Tunisia made several recommendations to improve access to finance including: being a key part of national strategies, data availability, education programmes, women empowerment, etc. At the same time, it was said that the contribution of national authorities is essential regarding this development.
18th WSBI Postal Savings Banks Forum The 18th WSBI Postal Savings Banks Forum gathered more than 40 representatives from some 15 financial institutions to discuss how postal financial institutions should position themselves and respond in a new digitized world.
As FinTech players bring disruption to the traditional banking sector postal financial institutions have to react by adopting new technologies for business opportunities. In this regard, it is also important to build strategic partnerships with new players as well as to promote financial education.
To achieve Universal Financial Access by 2020 Government support is specially needed to provide access to basic financial inclusion such as a transaction account and payment facilities in poor rural areas.
It was concluded that there is ‘no-one-size fits all’ business model and each postal financial institution should learn from other countries’ experience and tailor this into their country context. In this way the Postal Savings Banks Forum serves as an important platform for exchanges of experience and expertise.
In the margin of the Congress... Mr Chong Chinyong, the Vice President of Korea Post met Mr Han Sixi, the General Manager of Rural Finance from Postal Savings Bank of China, and they agreed to enhance exchanges of best practice in different areas such as asset management and the lending business. It was also suggested to set up a close communication mechanism for the three postal financial institutions in Asia from China and Korea as well as Japan Postbank.
Mr Chong Chinyong, the Vice President of Korea Post, signed a cooperation MoU with Mr Chris De Noose on the occasion of the WSBI MENA Financial Inclusion Forum and the annual WSBI Postal Savings Banks Forum in Marrakech. WSBI will receive a representative from Korea Post to work at WSBI for one year in order to foster the exchange of knowledge in particular in the field of postal banking.