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WSBI World Congress explores banking digitalisation challenges, opportunities

WSBI World Congress explores banking digitalisation challenges, opportunities

​U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.


More than 400 banking leaders attend 24th World Congress of Savings and Retail Banks.

​​WASHINGTON, D.C., 24 September 2015 – The U.S. capital today is the centre of the savings and retail banking world as more than 400 banking leaders from around the globe have descended on Washington for the two-day 24th World Congress of Savings and Retail Banks. WSBI members joined banking policy leaders, C-suite bankers and technology experts to discuss strategies, best practices and ways to boost main street digital banking.

A  must-attend event on the banking industry calendar, this year's features speakers and panellists who come from WSBI's  membership as well as experts from throughout the banking world who will offer attendees their insight during high-impact panels discussions.

​​High-powered panels

WSBI President Heinrich Haasis opened up the 24th Congress, welcoming attendees and setting the stage for a high-powered Day 1 first session. Echoing the conference theme Main Street Banking in a Digitised World, he said: "Digitalisation is a game-changer that affects the society as a whole. All people, all businesses, all public authorities are already affected now and will be affected much more in the coming months and years."

The morning session featured remarks on digitalisation by Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society a taped video message from Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, and a welcome address from Camden Fine, President and CEO of U.S. banking trade body Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). The afternoon session featured two high-powered women, with Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India, giving an afternoon keynote address just prior to Elizabeth A. Warren, United States Senator from Massachusetts.

Opening day sessions tackled three areas. The first, titled "Digital Transformation, Policy and the Economy: what is global, what is local?" tackled the digital divide, competition on an equal level between newcomers and incumbents, privacy and data protection and how it affects every day banking work and financial supervision and regulation. The afternoon featured a second plenary session, themed "Using "digital proximity" to rediscover the local, personal client relationship".

WSBI releases Washington Declaration

The day also included the release by WSBI members of the Washington Declaration, which concluded that the industry must address the biggest challenge facing savings and retail banks in the near future: digitalisation. It affirms that focus should not only be placed on the challenges but also on the opportunities offered by new technologies to deepen customer relationships.

Haasis concluded: "There is a real need for savings and retail banks to accompany their clients, and specifically their SME clients on the journey to digitisation. And to make this journey a success, we should build on the biggest asset that we have: the trust of our clients."

The Washington Declaration is available at

>> See the World Congress webpage

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Note to editor:

WSBI – The Global Voice of Savings and Retail Banking

WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $14tn and serving one billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2014). WSBI focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the aims of the G20 in achieving sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth, and job creation, whether in industrialised or less developed countries. WSBI favours an inclusive form of globalization that is just and fair, supporting international efforts to advance financial access and financial usage for everyone.


Financial inclusion; Information Technology; Banking Technology; Digitalisation; Mobile Banking; Mobile payments; Proximity