Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In

Speech: Chris De Noose Day 1 Innovation Conference wrap up

Speech: Chris De Noose Day 1 Innovation Conference wrap up


Closing Remarks


​WSBI-ESBG Managing Director Chris De Noose

at the 

WSBI Innovation Conference

26 Janaury 2017

Brussels, Belgium

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you again for attending DAY 1 of the two-day WSBI Innovation Conference.

During today’s sessions, we heard from many voices that have a stake in the future of financial services. Our member banks, fintechs, associations representing other sectors, journalists and policymakers.

First session: Digital disruption in other sectors

The first panel gave us a glimpse of what digital disruption looks like from the lens of other sectors. They concluded that sectors must adapt, and fast. As Dan Luca from EurActiv​ said: “Never criticise the weather or the markets. Please adapt. And fast.”

Adaption is one thing. But banks must collaborate too. This idea was explored throughout the day. Companies must also “be there” in the game. Sectors like media, telecommunications and logistics are faced with hyper competition and globalisation. The media is being transformed...there are now Twitter-only journalists.​

A pattern appeared during the panel...that innovation forces a “blurring” across industries. Banking is seeing that now.

Summary of Mr. Massanell’s address

Following panel 1, Mr Massanell’s address gave us a view from the top. He said that transforming banks should focus first on llegal, audit and compliance, risk and, perhaps most importantly, HR. He acknowledged that a mindset change is needed. Banks also need to understand how tech works and try to adapt products to it. Try to take risk positions. He also gave us his view on fintechs and the three options to work with them: engage them as supplier, or a joint venture or buy them out. He noted also that bank branches are a “defence” in our relationship with customers. He added that the next 4-5 years will be critical for the future of banks.

Session 2: Retail banking and products

Following chain of thought, debate in the second panel on retail banking and products in the digital age had tension -- between banks and fintechs. Moderator John Rega whispered that a little blood was spilled…not too much. The panelists showed us that fintechs come in three forms: the good, the bad, and ugly. Eric Mouilleron says that most are good. But some DO want to eat our lunch.

The good fintechs want to work with us and share least some of it. Stephan from Raisin told us that95% of startups want to work with banks. The question is whether locally focused banks have appetite. The ultimate goal, says Jan-Olaf Brunila, is that banks make things better and cheap while balance the need for security, price and convenience for customers. The big question is whether banks will remain the first point of contact for financial services or will they be wedged by fintechs.

Session 3: Back office

Out third panel focused on the back-office. Digital is changing the back of the house.

Resources are needed to transform back office. Technology, standards, skills are also needed too. We know that back office transformation should be applied for: efficiency, supporting business transformation, and pursuit of quality. It’s an ambitious task.

The panellist from CECABank told us the change in the back office requires balance. It also struck me when the panellist from CaixaBank said that the back office will have to work very hard to reach their own extinction. Mr Habish from Bee One/ErsteGroup said that the data still rests with banks. It must remain secure for our customers.

Session 4: Cyber-security defence

Before afternoon coffee, we were reminded that cyber security is a challenge that will stay with us for years to come…a constant race between thieves and hackers…and industry responses. We were shown an illustration of how behavioural biometrics combined with other authentication is worth considering.

Session 5: Customer focus

The last session took us closer to the customer, where we tried to address the seamless integration between bricks, clicks, rings and flicks.


What is clear from today’s session is that the journey remains. Speed, security and slashing costs are needed to be balanced with quality and customer needs.

That transformation starts with people, bank staff and bank management. From our people in the branch to the people in central functions, there has to be an innovation mindset.​

Security; Digitalisation; Innovation