"Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs"
Ladies and Gentlemen, Honorable Guests Friends,
Good morning and welcome to the 2016 ESBG Retail Banking Conference. I am Chris De Noose, Managing Director of ESBG.
Today's event is special.
Special because among us are more than 150 banking experts who will dig deep into the future of Europe's retail banks. We are joined today by fellow members, EU policy leaders and technology experts who look to have high-impact discussions on how EU policy can help boost locally focused banks. We must ask the question: What lies ahead for innovation in banking and how will retail banks embrace it?
As a bunch of new entrants carrying a lot less baggage enter the banking sphere – online banks, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding to name a few – locally focused banks need to adapt, and fast.
Banks are increasingly harnessing a multi-channel approach, through traditional brank branches as well as via online and mobile.
Retail bankers at this today's ESBG Retail Banking Conference will share how this is being done in Europe. Conference panels will look at the need for the right policy framework to enable retail banks to thrive in an increasingly competitive banking landscape affected by an interest rate policy that is putting the squeeze on bank profit margins.
Conference attendees will look for answers inspired by the principle of proportionality – a tier-based approach to banking regulation.
The future of retail banking has other dimensions. The European Commission's Capital Markets Union puts front and centre the need to unleash financial investment in Europe's real economy. Unlocking funding for SMEs includes giving start-ups access to capital markets – a welcome and undoubtedly ambitious aim to nourish more mature, growth-minded mid-sized firms.
The need remains, however, to keep bank-based lending as the main financing route. Savings and retail banks know the SME financing story perhaps better than anyone. Working daily with SMEs to provide financing, ESBG member banks remain unwavering in their role, despite facing an onslaught of tougher bank rules that flowed from the wake of the financial crisis. Focused on being close-to-customer, their overall business lending model helps create and maintain vibrant local economies, providing them with loans on the books valued at more than €1 trillion. That's plenty of reason to keep local banks in the frame.
With that, I would like to invite our next speaker. Isidro Fainé is President was appointed by the ESBG Board of Directors of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) in June of last year. Mr Fainé is Chairman of CaixaBank and President of CECA (the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks. He has a long and distinguished career in banking. Banking is truly in his DNA. In fact, he wrote a book about it.
We are honoured to have you with us today and look forward to hearing your vision of 21st Century Banking.
Mr Fainé, the podium is yours.