BRUSSELS, 12 October 2015 – The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) – the global representative of savings and retail banks – welcomed four new members at its General Assembly held on 23 September 2015 in Washington D.C.
Japanese banking giant Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) became a full member. SMBC, a fully-fledged universal bank with retail, commercial and investment banking activities, is ranked second in terms of total assets within Japan. Serving the Japanese market for four centuries, SMBC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of holding company Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc.
Commenting on SMBC, WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose: "Adding them as a member significantly increases our footprint in Asia and gives us a strong partner in Japan, one of the largest economies in the world."
Two new associate members also joined: Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), a microfinance institution based in the Philippines, and another microfinance institution, Afrique Emergence & Investments, based in the Côte d' Ivoire. In related news, bpost bank, Belgium, automatically became a member due to joining in November 2014 sister organization ESBG – the European Savings and Retail Banking Group.
The new members join at a time when savings and retail banks face the biggest challenge from digitalisation. Challenges and opportunities offered by new technologies can deepen customer relationships. Policymakers and regulators have a clear role through policies that aim to boost innovation and new technologies. Reasonable, proportional framework is also needed to keep our banking model an important part of a diverse financial landscape.
WSBI now represents 110 members in close to 80 countries. WSBI and its European sister organization, ESBG, run committees and networks to assist the establishment of positions for interest representation activities as well as organising exchanges of information, experience and best practice among member banks.
De Noose said: "Members face a 'New normal', created by the digital wave. That reality is an opportunity for our members embrace the challenge. WSBI members benefit from best practice exchange on digitalisation in fora like our World Congress. Through WSBI, members also gain from interest representation work we do on international advocacy issues to international regulators and standard setters, including the G20."
For more information about WSBI and its members, go to http://www.wsbi-esbg.org/Who-we-are/About-WSBI/Pages/About-WSBI.aspx