Europe needs banking technology – Speech by EBF CEO Wim Mijs
At the EBF Fintech Cocktail organised on Monday 4 June in the context of Money 2020, European fintech innovators gathered for an informal evening in the centre of Amsterdam. In a brief welcome word, EBF CEO Wim Mijs emphasised the need for European reinforcement in the fintech space.
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Good evening ladies & gentlemen,
Welcome in Amsterdam, welcome to the EBF Fintech Cocktail.
My name is Wim Mijs and I am the CEO of the European Banking Federation.
Many of you already know what the EBF does. But for those who don’t;
The EBF represents the interests of the European banking sector, trying to keep financial regulation fresh, efficient and above all: We need regulation that is future-proof.
We do this from Brussels, where most EU policy & regulation is being produced and many EU institutions are seated. And Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank and the centre of the Single Supervisory Mechanism and the Euro system.
The technology revolution makes our work really exciting, because not only business is undergoing enormous change, the regulatory mindset is also shifting. This year alone, Europe gave birth to two major rules, PSD2 and GDPR.
And this is only the beginning, policy makers and regulators are finally sinking their teeth into technology and acknowledging the importance of the financial sector to innovate and grow.
In March, the European Commission came up with the European Fintech Action Plan. I like the word Action in this context. Because that is exactly what we need, with an overclock speed.
In the Action Plan there is a clear focus on strengthening cybersecurity and technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence have got their own observatories. The European Central Bank has made its guidelines for new bank licenses and the European Banking Authority is assessing closely the interactions between fintech activity and national regulators in its Fintech Roadmap. But we need more than just observation.
Time for action indeed. We are a long-time supporter of an EU-wide framework of experimentation, also know as a fintech sandbox. This will not only benefit the market knowledge of authorities but eventually accelerate the cross-border nature of fintech business cases.
But fintech as we see it, is not the first innovation that is disrupting the world of money and certainly not the last. This time though, the speed of it all is incredible.
What we really are talking about here, at Money 2020 during the Amsterdam Fintech Week, is banking technology.
And also, we are within a stone’s throw, a few hundred meters in that direction, from the very first public stock exchange in the world, where traders gathered to sell their stocks of the East India Company.
Due diligence was done from door to door. Compliance was handwritten and required several pair of eyes. Transparency and trust were as important back then as they are now.
The tools of the trade just look a bit different.
There was no MiFiD 2 back then, but financial activity never was unregulated. Rules were increased every time someone tried out a trick and changed when it did not work. Tricks that still tend to happen, leading to losses and even crises.
It all has led to the current rules that are in place. Rules that will always require thorough review, by government and by the market.
Now regulation needs to be applicable in the digital age. Since banks will not the only ones doing banking.
Big tech and big data companies are emerging and leaving their marks in many industries, even in our social doings. Data awareness is growing, GPDR is a good start.
But when playing the same game, you stick to the same rules. The sector needs competition, banks even like competition. But it must be fair. Banks exchange data with third parties, but not the other way around.
Neither finance was a one man’s job, there was always a need to broaden horizons, looking at new ways of working together, merging, consolidating.
It is what led to the capital markets and banking unions of this world. It is what is happening between banks and start-ups. The models of collaboration are endless.
Are you wondering how the bank of the future looks like? Ask yourself how the human behind that bank will look like. Because it also makes sense to think about the people interacting with financial services; employees, consumers, clients. They are the ones feeling the impact, they have to make the decisions in a complex environment. That’s why education, financial literacy and consumer protection has become more so important in the digital age and cannot be ignored. That’s why it has become part of our work as well.
In a politically challenged Europe, the need to strengthen the single market is crucial to stay ahead.
And as we all know, technology is a big part of the answer.
Digitally driven and cross-border financial services are essential to keep up trade and economic growth.
While accelerating the digital transformation, we should continue to pursue true European goals, because the world around us has not stopped to move forward.
Let’s do this together. Thank you for coming, and don’t forget to stay in touch with the EBF.
Nahuel Mercedes, Communications Officer, +32 2 508 37 48, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the EBF:
The European Banking Federation is the voice of the European banking sector, brining together 32 national banking associations in Europe that together represent some 3,500 banks – large and small, wholesale and retail, local and international – employing approximately two million people. EBF members represent banks that make available loans to the European economy in excess of €20 trillion and that securely handle more than 400 million payment transactions per day. Launched in 1960, the EBF is committed to creating a single market for financial services in the European Union and to supporting policies that foster economic growth.