Stakeholders explore in Buenos Aires role of locally focused banks' role to build sustainable societies
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BRUSSELS, 21 March 2018 – More than 400 people attended a WSBI conference held on 21 March in the context of the 2018 G20 Argentina presidency. Held at the Casa Central Banco de la Nación Argentina in Buenos Aires, it explored the important role locally focused WSBI member banks have to play in the stability of the financial system at national and international levels.
Conference participants especially explored pressing issues for retail banking in the framework of G20 Argentina presidency priorities, such as better regulation, financial inclusion, digitisation and sustainable finance. The event also fosters a constructive dialogue between industry and policy-makers, as well as discussions and exchanges with like-minded organisations.
WSBI President Heinrich Haasis set the stage for the one-day event, providing a welcoming address. He noted: “The event hopes for constructive dialogue to occur between my colleagues from WSBI-ESBG member banks, along with stakeholders and policy-makers. The event also gives us a chance to see how some of the G20 themes from the Argentina Presidency fit into our banking model."
He also provided food for thought for policymakers when designing policy that affects their banks. He urged policy that helps boost access to traditional bank financing for SMEs, put in place targeted banking rules designed to take into account a bank's specific business model, size and risk, avoiding a “one-size fits all approach". He also stressed the need to promote models of financial inclusion and financial education.
Diego Prieto Rivera, President of the WSBI Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Group and President of Banco Caja Social, Colombia, also addressed the audience in the Argentinian capital. He echoed the message of Haasis, providing a regional perspective.
Isidro Fainé, president of Fundación Bancaria La Caixa in Spain, who also serves as ESBG president, provided a keynote address on financial Inclusion, economic and social Development. He explored two G20 themes: the future of the workforce and infrastructure for development.
While discussing the need for financial inclusion, training and education and skills acquisition to address workforce challenges, he drew from examples of efforts of WSBI members here in the Americas, where some 130 million people now seek banking services from them. Examples from Peru member FEPCMAC (Federacion Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito), BancoEstado in Chile, El Salvador's Fedecrédito's and Banco Caja Social in Colombia, which are featured in a new WSBI publication “Banking.Serving.Thriving.: The impact savings and retail banks make to boost the real economy while giving back to the communities they serve in Latin America and the Caribbean."
Dialogue among stakeholders began after opening addresses with a break down the G20 presidency and how it applies to Latin America and the Caribbean region. Exchange took place between Andrés Neumeyer, deputy general manager of economic research under the Argentina G20 Presidency; Daniel Funes de Rioja, who chairs of Business20 (B20) under the Argentina G20 presidency; Gema Sacristán, chief investment officer, IDB Invest, on behalf of IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno; and Javier Gonzalez Fraga, chairman of Banco de la Nación Argentina .
The first panel first panel, explored better regulation for better inclusion, bringing together Diego Prieto Rivera as moderator with Gabriel Bizama, G20 director for financial inclusion, Ministry of Treasury, Argentina; Yolanda Cue López, deputy general director of financial inclusion, Banco del Ahorro Nacional y Servicios Financieros (BANSEFI); José Francisco Demichelis, senior financial markets specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Group); and Lucas Llach, vice president, Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA)
The second panel take a digital path, looking at how best to build a financial business ecosystem in the digital age. Matt Gamser, CEO of IFC's SME Finance Forum led the discussion with panellists that included: Alejandro Cosentino, founder and CEO of Afluenta; Mauricio Lorenzetti, CTO at Above and Beyond (A&B) - FINCONECTA/FINFORWARD; Esteban Pérez Caldentey, chief of the financing for development unit at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); and Armando Rosales, president, Fedecrédito, El Salvador .
Panel 3 focused on sustainable finance, with The Banker Economics Editor Silvia Pavoni moderating an exchange between Maria Paz Uribe Estrada, head of international banking at Findeter in Colombia; CaixaBank International Relations Director Joan Rosás; and Carlos Serrano, business development lead for LAC, International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group .
Locally focused banks support the real economy, primarily through lending to small and medium-sized enterprises and private households. They provide their customers with financial services. Locally focused banks have the necessary in-depth market and customer knowledge and the required customer proximity to combine security and dynamism, reliability and competitiveness. They represent a diversity of business models and market proximity via decentralised structures. In this way, locally focused banks can provide an effective and granular distribution of risks in an internationally connected economy.
It is essential that the decisions and initiatives of the Argentine presidency of the G20 take sufficient account of locally focused institutions. This primarily includes: