Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have learned a lot today.
First, we learned that proportionality is central to help banks help make Europe Great Again.
The proportionality principle was weaved into Mr EU Commissioner Vice President Katainen remarks. He gave a nod to its importance. He also gave us an outline of what policy measures are coming. What was encouraging was his acknowledgement of local savings banks key role as an engine to help SMEs grow and thrive.
Mr Gual gave us a bankers perspective on proportionality and better regulation. The world economy appears “sunny”, but we must stay alert to make sure financing for SME remains robust. Adjusting bank rules is needed. He assured us that banks are in much better shape than just five years ago. That said, he restated that rules must take into account not only size but risk profile.
The first panel gave us an in depth look at the need for unleashing banks’ ability to further boost the economy. Mr Simon noted the need for a definition of “small banks”. In the U.S. it is defined. We heard about a small bank box, risk averse banking box and a smart and simple banking box.
Policymakers there are responding for the need for regulatory relief. Shall we press the delete button?
Carve out or not, it’s clear from all on the panel that we don’t want hiccups that could impede bank financing of the real economy – especially SMEs.
Part of the 21st century banks is being sustainable. Panel 2 helped us realise the importance of policy and private sector to be in synch. It was clear that savings and retail banks in Europe are aware and willing to fill a need to build out green-driven lending. The experts were keen on the need for well defined terms for green bonds and other instruments. Like panel 1, definitions matter. Governments should encourage the need for “crowd-in.” Policy could help bring sustainability into the mainstream.
There is so much potential for locally focused banks in this area. Out proximity to clients is strength indeed, especially with SMEs who will build a more sustainable world.
In our last panel, 21st century bank took centre-stage. As the digital wave sweeps over banking, we learned two things. First, customer service will be different and better. Back office operations will be more "lean-and-mean". Another take away was data protection remains a topic of debate between all stakeholders. What we know going forward is that innovation is an opportunity to develop our workforce in a new, more impactful way. We can all agree that policy should help innovation, not hinder it.
To conclude, we hope the morning gave you food for thought as to how banks can be more sustainable, more robust to help make Europe grow again.
Thank you to all of the presenters who took the stage today. Thanks to Jackie Davis for keeping us in-line, engaged, and on time. A special should out to our American friends from ICBA who have come all the way from the Beltway to Brussels. Special thanks to Mr Sabasaba from TPB in Tanzania and Armando Rosales from El Salvador. He is celebrating his birthday with us today! Happy Birthday!
We welcome you now for lunch! Thank you again.