The president of CECA and the 'la Caixa' Banking Foundation has renewed his three-year term as president of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) during the Assembly held in Paris. The German Peter Simon will be the Managing Director.

The WSBI, founded in 1924, currently represents the interests of 6,500 savings and retail banks around the world. In figures, WSBI members have assets totalling $15 trillion on their balance sheets, employ 2.2 million workers and serve 1.4 billion customers in 63 countries, with a network of more than 221,500 offices, from which they offer banking services to all types of groups, institutions, large companies, SMEs and families.

WSBI member entities allocate $1.8 billion annually to the fight against poverty and social inequality.

Financial inclusion, promoting sustainable finance, innovation and embracing digitalisation to forge ever-closer relations with customers, and strengthening solvency within the framework of Basel IV, are the priorities for the coming years.

In addition to Isidro Fainé and Peter Simon, the WSBI Advisory Committee is formed by Dominique Goursolle-Nouhaud, president of the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne (France); Rebeca Romero Rainey, president & CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (United States); Macario Armando Rosales Rosa, president of Fedecrédito (El Salvador); Helmut Schleweis, president of the German Savings Banks Association (Germany); Isara Wongrung, executive vice-president of the Government Savings Bank (Thailand); and Redouane Najmeddine, Managing Director of Banque Al Barid (Morocco).

Paris, 18 November 2021 – Isidro Fainé, president of CECA and the 'la Caixa' Banking Foundation has been re-elected president of the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI) during the 28th Assembly held in Paris.

The members of this institution's Assembly, which represents the interests of 6,500 savings and retail banks in more than 60 countries, unanimously re-elected Isidro Fainé as head of the institution for the next three years. The German Peter Simon will be the Managing Director of the entity during this period.

The priority lines of action established for the future include financial inclusion, promoting sustainable finance (given that WSBI member entities are characterised by their social commitment to the communities in which they operate), the exchange of best practices in the implementation of the new Basel IV solvency framework, and innovation, looking to digitalisation as a tool to improve customer proximity.

In his speech, Isidro Fainé stressed that 'over the coming years, we will have to address important challenges: the economic recovery, increased inequality, demographic challenges that will put pressure on natural resources, climate change and sustainability. Helping the most vulnerable and strengthening the community is in the DNA of our members. The social contributions of members total $1.8 billion annually, and are used to fight poverty and social exclusion'.

During Isidro Fainé's first mandate as president (2018-2021), the organisation focused on the following issues:

1) The promotion of the financial inclusion: WSBI has exceeded the targets set by the World Bank in its commitment to Universal Financial Access (UFA2020), increasing the number of banked people by 329 million between 2014 and 2020. In addition, it has consolidated its collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation, leading to the launch of such initiatives such as Scale2Save, focused on promoting savings in Africa. A partnership has also been initiated with the Profuturo digital literacy project to promote financial education in developing countries.

2) Increase of the dialogue with the international organisations: in response to the crisis caused by the pandemic, the WSBI has focused on promoting economic, fiscal and social measures vis-à-vis regulators, aimed at establishing a flexible framework that enables both a successful recovery from the crisis and that the new demands that arise as a result can be satisfied.

3) Encouragement of partnership between the members: the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute is made up of four regional groups (Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and North America/Latin America/Caribbean). In the context of the coronavirus crisis, they have increased the exchange of best practices to address the financial needs of all types of groups, institutions, large companies, SMEs and families.

Strengthening Spanish representation in international forums

In addition, the Assembly has renewed the mandates of the other statutory bodies, including the Coordination Committee. Antonio Romero, CECA's Corporate Director of Association Services and Resources, has been appointed chair of this committee, which coordinates the associated activities of the WSBI and the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG). Similarly, Joan Rosàs, Director of International Institutional Relations at CaixaBank, has been appointed as the representative of the WSBI Board for International Relations. This representation strengthens the participation of the Spanish banking sector in European and international working groups.