BRUSSELS, 11 April 2016 – Banking experts from Latin American and Europe gathered on Friday, 8 April, at the WSBI Breakfast Colloquium to debate customer strategies that can help bridge the gap between access and use. The Colloquium took place on the occasion of the Annual Meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), in Nassau, Bahamas.
The event aimed at sharing best practices around bringing people with no account in Latin America and Europe into mainstream banking. It also convened experts to create opportunities for possible collaborations between participating banks in future.
Weselina Angelow, WSBI's Senior Program Manager, opened the event by exposing WSBI's commitment for contributing to achieving Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020, its efforts to ensure accesibility, affordability and use of accounts in a sustainable way. She also shared lessons learned from a program the institution carried out with partner banks in 10 low and middle income countries worldwide.
"The route of financial services providers to customer orientation begins with understanding how access to financial services can add value to people's lives", she said. Weselina stated the need to better understand how and when people make decisions to save and what determines peoples behavior of spending and consumption. She added that technology allows financial service providers to reduce costs, increase digital touchpoints with their customers and retrieve data to better understand the client behavior. "Technology, however, is a tool to serve with a potential to allow for more customer autonomy and ownership through digital personalization of accounts, and not a mean in itself", she concluded.
Caixa Bank's Director of International Financial Institutions, Joan Rosás Xicota, explained how the institution has aimed at providing the customer with autonomy to access and use financial services by offering the world's first mobile only service for young people. The service is accessible at all times at young people's doorstep via facebook and twitter. He stated that "innovation in technology, excellent leadership and customer rooted retail banking go hand in hand and represent WSBI's foundations for progress".
Fedecrédito in El Salvador President, Macario Armando Rosales Rosa, and Karen Ergas, an international business manager of BancoEstado in Chile, also provided banking testimonials during the colloquium. They explained how their institutions assumed a pioneering role in their respective countries by reaching out to previously unattended remotely living customers and how this meant a "shift in paradigm away from channels and products towards a customer centric transformation of leadership and institutional change".
WSBI's Senior Advisor for Institutional Realtions, Aimée Suárez, closed the event by stating that "WSBI will continue to look out for customer friendly solutions which help to provide more active use in order to convert financial services for the unbanked into a real opportunity for both customers and providers".
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