BRUSSELS, June 16, 2015 – Savings banks need to ‘regain the trust of the population’ and ‘recover the good reputation’ they used to have, says new ESBG President Isidro Fainé.
To do so, their watchwords should be “Retail, Regional and Responsible”, urged Fainé while addressing industry leaders June 12 in Vienna to kick off his three year term.
Retail and savings banks face an assault by a bunch of new entrants to the baking “ecosystem” without the baggage, including online banks, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding and even stock exchanges targeting mid-caps / smallcaps.
To address this onslaught, he pressed the industry need to build better multi-channel distribution, through banks, online and mobile. The sector also needs “reactivating” of the dialogue with customers.
“We have to push forward new strategies and approaches that embrace necessary innovations: in the field of processes, delivery channels, digital products and services,” Fainé added.
He also called on retail and savings banks to continue to tackle social work where public services fail to cover, getting back to the industry’s self-help roots. This can be done by staying at the forefront of need, such as financial inclusion, and exiting projects when they become mainstream and civil servants muscle in. To make this easier, EU policymakers should review and structure new legislative work that avoids hampering local and retail banking models – a bedrock of financial and economy stability in Europe. Fainé spelled out how. One way is through proportionate legislation, meaning regulation is adapted to the size, scope and business model of savings and retail banks.
Strengthening capital markets reform to complement savings and retail banks, not replacing it, is another. This especially holds true for providing loans to people and small- and medium-sized enterprises. A third policy area is the European Commission “Better Regulation” initiative, an opportunity to simplify regulations, prevent overlaps and unnecessary costs, and eschew highly complex legislation.
Fainé added that ESBG: “calls on policymakers to review and structure new legislative initiatives…reinforce the retail banking industry in which we are crucial players.”
The ESBG, and its sister organisation WSBI, have an enabling role to help its members. It does so by:
serving as a support platform for members,
gathering knowledge and expertise
exchange views on banking issues, and
help implement innovative business strategies.
He concluded: “I very much look forward to working with all of the members in the upcoming years.”
Note to editors:
The board of directors of the ESBG appointed Mr Fainé, Chairman of CaixaBank and President of CECA – the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks – as new ESBG president to serve from 2015 to 2018. During the 12 June meeting in Vienna, the board also elected a new President's Committee and board of directors.