Global retail bank leaders meet in Colombia to discuss trends on sustainable finance, cybersecurity and financial education

The conference was hosted by WSBI President, Mr Isidro Fainé (President at ‘La Caixa’ Foundation) and the WSBI Regional President for The America and Caribbean, Mr Diego Prieto (President at Banco Caja Social, Colombia). The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), based in Brussels, brings together 88 worldwide saving banks associations from 67 countries.

Isidro Fainé highlighted the social responsibility of banks to make a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable society. “In recent years, we have seen unprecedented movements in interest rates, suffered a chain of financial crises and had to adapt to drastic reforms in the regulatory frameworks of the banking sector. We are immersed in a complex, uncertain and unstable scenario.” The president reassured confidence when he added: “I am optimistic about our future. We are called upon to continue to conduct banking with a profound sense of social responsibility and to make a more prosperous, sustainable and equitable society a reality. At this time of growing inequalities, our social action takes on more importance than ever”.

Peter Simon, Managing Director of WSBI-ESBG stressed “We all have the responsibility to discuss and define what is our take as socially responsible banks and as global leaders in retail banking, amid a complicated economic outlook and the advent of new technologies. While it’s true that artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and one day, with AI, we will be able to make smarter investment decisions than the best Wall Street analysts, it is important to remember that technology can never fully replace the human touch in serving communities. As our members know first-hand, serving communities requires more than trust financial expertise, it requires a deep understanding of the needs of the struggles of the daily lives of the people that we all serve”.

During the conference, leading financial experts from IFC (International Finance Corporation) World Bank, the WEF, CECA, Caixa Bank, Telefonica, Al Barid Bank (Morocco) and State Bank of India, amongst others presented success stories in digitisation and cybersecurity tackling sustainable finance and financial education as a means for financial inclusion.

Priorities for the coming years

Helmut Schleweis, President of DSGV German Savings Bank Association (DSVG) and Dominique Goursoulle-Nouhaud President Chairman of the National Federation of Caisses d’Epargne (FNCE) and also the President of the European Saving and Retail Banking Institute (ESBG), as keynote speakers, showed the solid commitment of the WSBI’s members to the latest WSBI General Assembly’s priorities in Paris in 2021. Financial inclusion, the promotion of sustainable finance, innovation, leveraging digitisation to promote proximity to the customer and reinforcing solvency in the framework of Basel IV, were the priorities set for the coming years.

The Conference was kindly sponsored by CaixaBank, Banco Caja Social, CECA, DSGV, Minsait (INDRA), and Movistar Empresas.

From the Press corner

Mr Isidro Faine’s interview with El TiempoMr Peter Simon’s Interview with Portafolio
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