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WSBI annual regional meeting explores innovation, celebrates World Savings Day

WSBI annual regional meeting explores innovation, celebrates World Savings Day

​​​​​SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, 31 October – Leaders of Latin America's leading retail and savings banks gathered in Santo Domingo on 28-30 October ​to host its annual meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Members from nine countries joined banking experts and regulators for the three-day event, held in collaboration with WSBI members Dominican Republic's Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP) and Spain's CaixaBank. The meetings included an innovation workshop, which focused on customer engagement, data & partnerships, and how to get the most out of new technologies. The 25th WSBI Latin America and Caribbean Regional Group (GRULAC) Annual Assembly also took place. At the assembly, members took the chance to also celebrate World Savings Day with APAP and the local community.  

“Innovation helps WSBI members thrive in the 21st century," said WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose. “To boost innovation and digitalisation, we bring savings and retail banks together to help bring them closer to people, provide better services, and broaden financial inclusion."


Image on the left: Diego Prieto, GRULAC Chairman and President of Banco Caja Social
Image on the right: Deep dive session on digital onboarding and authentication​ with Inés Páez (Adofintech), Xavier Codó (Mitek), Alejandro de Oleza (CaixaBank)


Diego Prieto, GRULAC Chairman and President of Banco Caja Social (Colombia), who gave opening remarks at the event, said: “As never before, new information and communication technologies, work flows and ecosystems revolutionize many industries. Banking is no exception.

The workshop helps member banks reach the ultimate goal to keep our social mission while providing quality financial services that effectively contribute to the development of our clients."


​​Interactive discussions – central part of the workshop

Experience exchange and active group discussions are important elements of every WSBI Innovation workshop. This time participants explored the topic of collaboration and discussed in groups one the the five themes:

Bank – Startup Collaboration, facilitated by Marlenne Then, GCS Systems

Bank – Bank Collaboration, facilitated by Ernesto Pacheco, Fedecrédito

How to develop better customer engagement? Facilitated by Icelsa Diaz, APAP

How can Policy foster Innovation? Facilitated by Alejandro Fernández W., Argentarium

Legacy systems: the pink elephant in the room​, facilitated by Diego Prieto, Banco Caja Social

WSBI Innovation workshops are a series of smaller scale events that aim to gather a small group of audience and encourage the engagement of all participants. Every workshop provides a forum for members to exchange and to share success stories. Similar workshops have already taken place in Brussels, Istanbul, Hong Kong, São Paulo and Prague.


Participants of WSBI Innovation Workshop in Santo Domingo


APAP and World Savings Day

WSBI member Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP) held a special ceremony during the WSBI regional meeting in the capital, which serves as the official launch of World Savings Day in Latin America and the Caribbean. ​

As every year on the occasion of the World Savings Day, APAP launched their traditional campaign CERO DE ORO, the largest campaign promoting savings in the Dominican Republic. In addition to this campaign that started 51 years ago, APAP also organized an exhibition of local artists, who designed works related to savings and their impact.


Savings give life a lift

The World Savings Day 2019 theme is "Savings give life a lift". WSBI chose that theme because for WSBI and its members, World Savings Day places added focus on the stabilising role played by savings and retail banking in the overall financial system. It evokes some of the ethos of local banks: responsible partners in communities, close to the customer, serving households, small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) and local authorities.  

WSBI member banks demonstrate their locally focused approach to banking through World Savings Day activities in the communities they serve. That includes in dozens of countries, including the Dominican Republic.

De Noose added: “APAP brings World Savings Day alive in innovative ways, which our members around the world can learn from. We hope people throughout the country learn more about the importance of savings and how it helps improve their lives.

Savings remain a potent force to address growth and financial stability and personal growth, especially for the poor. Poverty stops where savings start." 

Learn more about World Savings Day at 


About WSBI GRULAC meeting

The Latin American & Caribbean Regional Group (GRULAC) brings together the members in the region to keep close exchange on specific issues and to promote the exchange of best practices and create opportunities for business cooperation. Representing 13 financial institutions from 12 countries​​, the group’s members meet at least once a year at annual regional group meetings. Those meetings serve as a platform for exchange of experiences among members and provide potential members or other interested international or regional organizations a way to keep up to date on savings and retail banking as well as WSBI efforts in the region.​ 

WSBI members from the Latin American & Caribbean Regional Group​ at the 25th annual assembly


About APAP

The Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP) is one of the first private financial institutions of the Dominican financial system, standing out for the attractive offer of Mortgage Loans, Business Banking and the continuous efforts to promote the habit of savings.

WSBI and innovation

WSBI sees innovation as a crucial ingredient to help its members thrive in the 21st century. As an international banking association that brings together savings and retail banks located on all continents, innovation and digitalisation can help foster closer customer relationships and better services while in the long term increasing financial inclusion and boosting sustainable, modern finance.

WSBI helps members by fostering exchange of experience and success stories through activities like the Santo Domingo workshop. That exchange includes efforts to facilitate knowledge sharing among members, with FinTech companies and other strategic frontrunners through exchanges of information and experience at all levels within the organisation as well as in-house knowledge management.


Innovation; Innovation Hub