Savings and retail banking body hosts MENA Financial Inclusion Event, Postal Savings Banks Forum, which looks to find ways to boost financial inclusion in a digitised world.
BRUSSELS, 19 January 2016 – Postal financial institutions and digitalisation will play big roles in making the financial system accessible for people with lower income in particular in the Middle East and Norther Africa region, according banking experts participating this week in an WSBI-convened conference on financial inclusion – an event held in partnership with its Moroccan member Al Barid Bank.
Speaking at the event, WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose said: “Including as many people as possible in the formal economy not only empowers those people but also benefits to the overall economy by allowing financial institutions such as Al Barid Bank in Morocco to fulfil their intermediation function between savers and borrowers.”
Redouane Najm-Eddine, Al Barid Bank’s CEO said: “Digitisation is obviously a big challenge for postal savings banks but at the same time we can profit from the unprecedented opportunities offered by new technologies to reach even the most remote customer in a cost-efficient way. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to welcome colleagues from the Postal Savings Bank of China, India Postbank, Korea Post and other prominent postal savings institutions from Middle East and Africa at this conference.”
In many countries, the postal services have the biggest distribution network. Post offices are accessible to the masses in remote areas. The proximity, accessibility and affordability of postal financial services can be further improved by making good use of the new opportunities of digital technology.
De Noose added: "Post Office Banks in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, with such vast reach, will certainly play an important role in helping WSBI attain its aim by the end of 2020 to reach 1.7 billion clients and 400 million new transaction accounts as part of our commitment to the World Bank Group's Universal Financial Access (UFA) goals."
Committed to knowledge sharing to build a financially inclusive society, WSBI convenes events like the Postal Savings Banks Forum and the MENA Financial Inclusion Event to help boost outreach by member banks in both developing and transition economies that help provide greater access to financial services. Aimed at all categories of society and at local level, WSBI places focus predominantly on ways to reach out to poor and low-income households as well as small-scale entrepreneurs.
Financial inclusion projects tackle product accessibility and affordability as well as ways to get closer to customers through proximity networks in both remote and underserved areas, all of which digitalisation can help addrress. The WSBI Washington Declaration, released in September 2015, delves into the role digital innovation can play to better connect with existing and new customers.
De Noose concluded: "Holding this event is an another step forward in addressing financial inclusion outlined in WSBI positions delivered to G20 leaders and our commitment to universal financial access."