BRUSSELS, 1 July 2016 – Adoption of a digitised banking universe can help WSBI members to achieve their longstanding commitment to financial inclusion, according to the WSBI resolution released today in Bangkok.
Digital payments, shift from cash
Reaffirming WSBI's stance on the digital revolution and how it impacts savings and retail banks in the 21st Century, the resolution also emphasizes that digital payments and a digital payments ecosystem are an important part of this universe. Both are an essential prerequisite for the shift from cash, which is considered a policy priority in many countries, including Thailand. Based on conclusions from the 2016 WSBI Annual Meetings taking place today and tomorrow in the Thai capital, the document notes that digital payments and electronic transfers also reduce the cost of sending remittances. Remittances form an important source of business for many WSBI members and can be a key element in enabling financial inclusion. They also form part of the Sustainable Development Goals under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Update on Universal Financial Access Goals
The resolution provides the opportunity for WSBI and it members to renew their commitment to financial inclusion and to announce first year results on their commitment to the World Bank Group's Universal Financial Access (UFA) 2020 Goal. WSBI has exceeded initial targets for Universal Financial Access (UFA) 2020, both in terms of customer numbers and transaction accounts. Its 2015 report showed progress, with members reaching 1.549 billion clients and 117 million new transaction accounts, ahead of target by 2.4% and 5.9 % respectively.
Messages for policymakers: avoid one-size-fits-all approach, help boost innovation
The resolution concludes with a message to policy makers as to how best they can facilitate the switch to a digital banking future. Policymakers should recognize the valuable role of savings and retail banks in local communities, it notes, including as a financial catalyst for small and medium-sized companies.
To help further achieve progress on their commitment to the UFA 2020 Goals and their support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, WSBI and its members call upon stakeholders, policy-makers and regulators to support their global financial inclusion challenge. Policy should aim to boost innovation and technological solutions, not hamper it. Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach to banking rules, through a proportional and fair framework, would help unleash a more robust and diverse financial services sector.
Building on previous declaration
The resolution builds upon the Washington Declaration issued on the occasion of the WSBI Congress in September 2015. It is also the first official WSBI reference to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 and came into effect in January 2016. It also ties in with the G-20 Chinese Presidency's overarching theme of "Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy" as well as its linkage to "financial inclusion", an area in which WSBI has a strong role to play in helping realise the promise of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
>> See the resolution
>> See the September 2015 Washington Declaration
>> See WSBI Universial Financial Acess 2020 pledge
About the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI)
WSBI represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $14 trillion 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. Learn more at: www.wsbi-esbg.org