Chris De Noose explores New Delhi Declaration
>> Read: New Delhi Declaration
>> Related: Press release
BRUSSELS, 28 November 2018 – The World Congress in New Delhi set forth a vision for the future of savings and retail banking and their role in a globalised world.
That future is set forth in a New Delhi Declaration published during the Congress. It sets out how WSBI will charge ahead to help make globalisation inclusive for all, the theme of this year's event. The declaration comes just six years after the Marrakesh Declaration, which pledged WSBI members to offer “an account for everyone". Three years later, in Washington, members committed themselves to closer customer proximity – taking a digital path, while keeping a human touch.
The New Delhi Declaration goes further. It makes five strong commitments that build on the previous declarations. First, WSBI members pledge to serve clients from all layers of society. This is essential because savings and retail banks are oftentimes the financial institutions that form the link between the global economy and people, small businesses and local authorities. The second is to continue efforts to open and maintain accessible, sustainable and affordable bank accounts. A bank account is an essential product that allows people to manage their budget in an efficient way.
WSBI members also pledge to maintain and strengthen their special relationship with SMEs, the main engine of jobs and wealth creation in any local economy. We saw examples throughout the Congress of how small and medium-sized enterprises play a vital role in local economies, bringing the advantages of a global economy to the local level. Without stable, long-term financing, a vital part of the global economy will be under threat.
WSBI also commits to widen financial inclusion by offering affordable products adapted to the specific needs of people, especially the unbanked and underbanked. Financial inclusion is a must. As long as people remain on the outskirts of the formal financial system, many measures will be out of reach to tackle the enormous challenges the world faces in areas like social wellbeing, healthcare, demographic shifts. At the 2015 World Congress in Washington, we committed to reach 1.7 billion clients and 400 million new transaction accounts by the end of 2020. Outlined in our Universal Financial Access 2020 pledge, we are close to reaching those targets.
Our fifth and final commitment it to continue investing important financial and logistic resources into financial education. Financial inclusion – being able to manage income and expenses – is not just a matter of making products and services available but empowering people. Financial education provides the tools to give people the power to control their own life.
WSBI and its 104 members will do their utmost to reach these commitments. But we cannot do it on our own. Public policy plays a role. There is a pressing need for adapted regulation and supervision. Why? Because our members use a unique business model geared towards local economic and financial needs on the ground. We take on less risk than internationally active financial banks. We hold an essential role to finance the real economy that policy frameworks must factor in.
International financial institutions and development banks should work with us too. When they do, we further unleash financing for local economic development projects that spur economic growth and deepen social cohesion.
We invite WSBI members, stakeholders, policymakers, regulators and supervisors to take note of the New Delhi Declaration and the roadmap it lays out.
Chris De Noose
Managing Director, WSBI
The declaration was unveiled during the two-day 25th World Congress of Savings and Retail Banks held on 15-16 November in New Delhi, India. Through the Congress declaration, the association of 104 member banks and associations – located on all continents – looks to share with the policymaking world how regionally focused, responsible retail banking help people in a globalised world. Under the theme “Sustainable Retail Banking – Making globalization inclusive for all", the event featured speakers and panellists who come from WSBI's membership as well as experts from throughout the banking world who will shared with attendees their insight during high-impact panel discussions.