Chris De Noose
Retail Banking Conference 2017: Proportionality and Sustainability as the Pillars of Growth
The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium
27 June 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Chris De Noose, Managing Director of WSBI and ESBG.
Welcome to this year's Retail Banking Conference.
This year's conference theme is: Proportionality and Sustainability as the Pillars for Growth. We hope to refer to that theme throughout the morning as we explore how savings and retail banks in the 21st century can serve their local economies – that is, households and SMEs.
Today we are joined by a distinguished group of speakers who will give their insights on the policy frameworks needed to do just that.
Setting the scene: the winds of change
As memories of the financial crisis fade, people of all walks of life are focusing more on the big issues that now face economies – Jobs, growth and social cohesion. People look to governments, and institutions like locally focused retail banks to deliver on all three.
From the front office to the back-office, banks are making every effort to deliver. They are innovating to boost service while slashing costs. Banks are changing on many fronts.
But shouldn't policy change too? We think so. And so think a growing number of policymakers and stakeholders. From the push in Brussels for more proportionality to “regulatory relief" in Washington, policy should look to help, not hinder innovation.
Like proportionality, sustainable banking also forms an important pillar. Sustainability takes on different forms…with green finance being an important part. That said, sustainability is not only dependent on regulation and proportionality.
Sustainable banking also means focusing on the main task of locally rooted banks: deliver on bringing the advantages of globalisation to local communities. That includes access to finance and financial inclusion, where we play a key role. We still have some work, even in the European Union, where close to 40 million Europeans still lack a bank account.
Bringing the promise of globalisation back home starts with SMEs and the jobs they create. We had some encouraging news on the jobs front, as April EU jobs figures showed improvement. That said, some 19 million people remain without a job in the EU. Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high at 16.7 %.
A path to more jobs and growth
Getting the remaining 19 million jobless Europeans back to work rests squarely on SMEs. And SMEs depend a lot on locally focused banks – a half trillion euros in loans, roughly the value of Sweden's gross domestic product.
To conclude, let me say that we must try to answer today this question: “How can proportionate approaches to banking rules help all stakeholders deliver? Deliver in the hearts and minds of millions of Europeans who crave for the fruits of globalisation – jobs & growth?
That's some food for thought, indeed.
Introduction of Mr Kaittainen
I would now like to now welcome European Commission Vice President Jyrki Kaittainen. Mr Kaittainen is responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. We thank you for joining us today and are eager to hear your thoughts.
The floor is yours Mr Vice President.
>> See opening remarks by Mr Katainen
>> See event press release
>> See closing remarks