More than 200 banking leaders and experts from all around the world gathered on 28 September in Lima, Peru, for the WSBI Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC) meeting
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>> See: GRULAC 2017 event page
LIMA, Peru, 29 September 2017 – WSBI Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Group (GRULAC) members gathered today in Lima to exchange knowledge and share experiences under the theme: “Digitised retail banking anywhere, anytime and anyhow".
Prior to the Annual Meeting, GRULAC top managers met in the 9th Steering Committee Meeting, chaired by Diego Fernando Prieto Rivera, President of Banco Caja Social (Colombia), and current President of the Regional Group.
On the morning of 28 September, Jorge Solís, President of the Federación Peruana de Cajas Municipales de Ahorro y Crédito (FEPCMAC), local host of the event, led the opening session. “Innovation", “technology", “digitisation" and “financial inclusion" were about to become the most used words of the day. WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose and Diego Prieto joined Mr Solís at the opening session, agreeing that innovation must never be seen as a goal, but rather as a mean to achieve the original aim of savings banks: enabling universal access to financial services, reducing poverty.
Enriching discussions around the topics of regulation, innovation, digitization
As Chris De Noose said, locally focused banks now face a huge challenge: regulatory pressures and strict reporting requirement. Against this background, listening to what Mariela Zaldívar, Deputy Supervisor of Market Conduct and Financial Inclusion (SBS) added further insight, sharing about how the Peruvian Supervisory Body deals with financial inclusion and the digital revolution was extremely interesting. Many improvements have been achieved with 41% of the Peruvian population now having access to an account. Still, much work has to be done in order to strengthen trust in banks.
After these two introductory sessions, three more panels followed. The first one, on “Innovating in banking culture and strategy", highlighted the importance of building a new strategy and handling digital transformation correctly within the financial institution itself in order to adapt to this new digital era in the best possible way, and offer clients what they need. The session concluded that changing behaviours and processes is not easy, but through training schemes and technology, a huge progress has already been achieved.
The second panel, on “Banking customers anywhere, anytime and anyhow", focused on the omnipresence of banks, in particular thanks to mobile banking and other digital financial services. All speakers highlighted the importance of reaching the most vulnerable sectors of the populations.
The third panel was dedicated to the transformation of the bank in the digital world. This session explored a series of best practices from our members and experts, and illustrated the digital evolution we are currently experimenting. They talked about robotics, artificial intelligence, big data; and how the branch is also becoming a place where customers seek advice. Even if people are using more and more their portable devices in order to make use of financial services, the branch is still important.
The importance of financial literacy
A closing ceremony explored World Savings Day initiatives carried out by members in order to promote saving money. “The World Savings Day encourages the timeless idea and act of saving money in a bank rather than keeping it under a mattress," said Chris De Noose. Children should be taught how to deal with money as soon as possible, and know the importance of saving.
Jorge Solís closed the event thanking all participants for their presence.
Today, the FEPCMAC is hosting their 10th International Microfinance Congress, which will be a great opportunity to discover more about the microfinance evolution in the Latin American and Caribbean region, with particular focus on Peruvian developments.
Some of the 2017 GRULAC speakers, from left to right, top to bottom: Isabella Frey, Felipe Vasquez, Martijn van Rooij, Mariela Zaldívar, Mario Rojas, Dario León, Diego Prieto, Joan Rosàs Xicota, Jorge Solís, Ole Morten Geving, Chris De Noose, Rodolfo Salazar.
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