WSBI focuses on the following activities in order to strengthen its position as an international hub for savings and retail banking.
International advocacy: Greater lobbying weight and visibility as a group
WSBI provides its members with the opportunity to influence international policy and standard setting bodies and to contribute the achievements and solutions of the savings and retail banking industry. This takes place through the publication of position papers and regular high-level and/or working-level meetings with international bodies such as:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the purpose of raising awareness concerning the role and contribution of savings and retail banks to financial stability and economic development.
- The Financial Stability Board (FSB) on a wide range of policy issues impacting the savings and retail banking business model.
- The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and in particular the Basel Committee on Banking Super- vision (BCBS) on all regulatory and prudential issues.
- The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on taxation (automatic exchange of information), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) concerning anti-money laundering and terrorist financing issues as well as the International Network on Financial Education (INFE)
- The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) concerning international financial reporting standards
- Regional organisations such as the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union (EU) institutions, the Centre for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA) and Latin American Banking Federation (FELABAN) as well as development banks such as the AFD (Africa), ADB (Asia), IDB (Inter-American) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
In addition WSBI transmits its main institutional messages on current international financial service regulation, financing the real economy and financial inclusion to the G20. This advocacy is based on positions elaborated through member consultation and expertise provided by seven WSBI-ESBG standing advisory committees and a dedicated team of financial service industry experts at the WSBI-ESBG joint office.
Examples of interaction with important financial sector policy and industry stakeholders
- WSBI working groups and conferences convene leading public and private sector actors to discuss the latest developments in the global regulatory agenda as well as global banking trends.
- WSBI has successfully intervened with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2010 to convince them to adapt their original anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) rules to a more adapted risk based approach (RBA) based on the national context and to risks posed by transactions. The aim was to avoid an increased know-your-customer (KYC) verification resulting in unintended barriers to reaching low income people and to promote the goal of financial inclusion.
- WSBI also influences other industry stakeholders through representation in such entities as the Board of the European Microfinance platform, the Knowledge Management Committee of the Better than Cash Alliance, the Board of Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), and the Steering Committee of the Global Forum on Remittances.
- WSBI has gained a significant reputation in the Financial Inclusion space. It is working together with the implementing partners of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), such as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), and the World Bank Group, and has gained a significant reputation in terms of contributing to shaping international policy in what has now become a crucial G20 policy issue.
- It is also gathering evidence based practices on how best to use technology and innovation to reach out to the rural unbanked. These best practices are derived to a large extent from the WSBI Doubling Savings Accounts programme in Africa, Asia and Latin America and other members' experiences.
WSBI has been successful in drawing the attention of industry stakeholders to the critical business positions, in particular in terms of accessibility, affordability and sustainability, that are a pre-requisite to the goal of full financial inclusion as well as supporting members in developing their related business models.
Knowledge sharing, access to expertise, information and peer-to-peer exchanges
WSBI has developed working platforms to provide members access to a global network of retail banking experts sharing similar business values, visions and ambitions to enable exchanges of experience and best practices, to reflect their expectations and needs and to support their efforts in addressing critical challenges.
These platforms also provide the opportunity to disseminate and promote the leading edge knowledge of WSBI in such areas as agent banking, digitalization, mobile channels and remittances and provide members with opportunities for business development within the WSBI network or through partnerships with external stakeholders.
The current focus of knowledge sharing at WSBI is on Innovation and peer-to-peer exchanges of information and best practices on improving the customer experience and reducing time to market.
Examples: Exchanges taking place at various levels within the organization
- Statutory meetings and Annual Regional Meetings in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas: The meetings serve as a platform for exchanges of experience among members and also provide potential members or other interested (international or regional) organizations to appreciate what savings and retail banks and the WSBI stand for.
- Annual Conference on Retail Banking that provides a platform open to professionals in the field of financial regulations, e.g. policy makers, regulators, bankers, academics, etc.
- WSBI World Congress (every three years) addressing global trends that affect WSBI members and their customers. The 2015 Congress is focused on the global theme of "Main Street Banking in a Digitised World".
- Regional seminars, cross-regional conferences and the International Summer Forum: These take place on a regular basis on both operational and strategic topics as well as on issues related to financial inclusion such as financial education, branchless banking, etc.
- Regular and timely information and analysis on the impact of new developments in international regulation and other issues that concern the activities of the savings and retail banking organisations that make up the WSBI membership. These include such publications as the News & Views quarterly magazine (published in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish), CEO Newsletter (published in English, French, German, and Spanish), working papers, position papers, and reports on specific issues that are relevant to members.
- Identification of funding opportunities offered by international/regional institutions and provision of support to members in their applications. WSBI has associations with international programmes, e.g. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Bank, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), FSD Africa as well as some international foundations.
- Facilitate 'members help members' to capitalize on their combined strengths. This may include the organisations of study visits and south/south technical assistance.
- Capacity building through WSBI's first class Training and Consulting services in such areas as change management, agent banking, mobile banking and mobile money, data management and analytics, retail payments, interoperability and G2P, credit activities development, distribution policies, risk management and sustainable financial inclusion, strategic HR development, regional or tailored training and cross country research.