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WSBI regional body meets in Panama City

WSBI regional body meets in Panama City

​BRUSSELS, 12 October 2016 – Some 100 financial players as well as officials of central banks and supervisory authorities attended today's WSBI Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Group (GRULAC) meeting in Panama City.

​The two-day meeting serves as a forum exchange of experiences and knowledge on modern-day banking under the theme "24/7 customer service, presence anywhere, anytime". 

​Day One: High-powered speakers

Yesterday's opening session included remarks by Mario Rojas, General Manager, Caja de Ahorros de Panamá; Heinrich Haasis, President of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI); and  Diego Prieto, President of the WSBI Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Group and President of Banco Caja Social, Colombia.

A keynote speech on the evolving challenges in today's retail banking world was given by Gustavo Adolfo Villa, Secretary General, Superintendencia de Bancos de Panamá.

A day one high-level panel discussion followed, which looked at how the digital "new normal" can help banks bring people out of the financial wilderness and into the formal financial sector. Moderated by Diego Prieto, the group of experts included Secretary General Adolfo Villa along with  WSBI-ESBG Coordination Committee Chairman Wolfgang Neumann and Caja de Ahorros de Panamá's Rojas. 

Three banking-related sessions followed on expanding outreach for thriving national financial inclusion strategies, in-house customer-centric strategies, and a final Friday session that tackled the conference theme.

Day Two: A look at WSBI efforts, future aims

Day two opened with a presentation by Chris De Noose on the recently launched WSBI Advisory Services as well as a virtual tour of the WSBI-ESBG Online Community. A presentation on WSBI achievements and perspectives was given by Aimée Suarez, WSBI Senior Advisor International and Institutional Relations for Latin America and the Caribbean followed by a discussion among members moderated by Mr. Prieto.

A closing ceremony on day two highlighted World Savings Day with remarks by Chris De Noose, followed by a presentation of the recently released Inter-American Development Bank Report: "Savings for development: How Latin America and the Caribbean can save more and better?" Development in the Americas (DIA) 2016 by IDB Lead Economist Eduardo Cavallo, who helped author the publication.

​The event was capped off by closing remarks by Chris De Noose and Mario Rojas, General Manager, Caja de Ahorros de Panamá as well as signature of cooperation agreement between WSBI, Caja de Ahorros and the Sparkassenstiftung. 

Caja de Ahorros featured in pre-event meeting, facilities tour

Caja de Ahorros hosted prior to the event the GRULAC top management in their 8th Steering Committee Meeting. GRULAC steering committee members took a tour of Caja de Ahorros. The tour included a visit to its distribution channels area, Caja de Ahoorsos training university for managers, gallery of Panamanian art, classroom of the future where they host school students as potential talents for Caja de Ahorros and the dedicated breastfeeding room with the consolidated Caja de Ahorros as the bank of the Panamanian Family.

​About WSBI in Latin America and the Caribbean

Representing financial institutions and federations, the WSBI Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) addresses region-wide structural changes needed to extend the access to financial services through share knowledge and to advocacy for members. Events like this week's GRULAC meeting aim at creating opportunities for future collaboration among participants, which also include experts and multilateral agencies from the region.

The next GRULAC annual meeting will take place on 28-29 September 2017 in Lima at the kind invitation of FEPCMAC – the WSBI member in Peru.


>> Check out: Event full programme 

>> Explore: WSBI Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC

>> Learn more: WSBI Advisory Services

>> See: Related story from Caja de Ahorros de Panamá​ (in Spanish)

>> Visit: World Savings Day website


Financial inclusion; Regional economy; Innovation; Digitalisation; Banking Distribution Channels; Banking Technology