Changed banking sector faces new future

conference panels

What does the future hold for the banking sector in Europe? What impact will the new regulations have on the way banks do business? How can banks finance growth? How can digital be integrated into banks’ business models.

To discuss these questions, 300 people gathered in Brussels on 19 November for the EBF’s annual conference. Following an opening keynote from Christian Clausen, CEO of Nordea and President of the EBF, the question of the impact of the new Single Supervisory Mechanism dominated the discussion, with Wilfred Nagel, Chief Risk Officer at ING saying that it will make banks more efficient and European capital markets more effective.

The second panel session focused on ways that banks can finance growth. All the panellists welcomed the Juncker Plan that would raise €300 billion in investment, it was agreed that this was a good first start. Arnaldo Abbruzzini, Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES remarked that much of what is discussed in SMEs is that banks will not lend them money – “It does not matter if it is true or not true, it is a sentiment.” The challenge is making business leaders and finance work together. How can they be part of the solution?

Following a networking lunch, a panel on digital customers explored the use of digital technologies used by consumers and the ways that the sector could adapt to changing needs and expectations. Mark Jamison, Director of Customer Experience and Business Intelligence at BBVA compared the situation of banks to Jurassic Park, in that they were dinosaurs protected by a “regulatory moat”, until someone “built a bridge across to it”. The panel noted that there was fierce competition from companies offering niche financial services like international transfers, but customers highly trust the digital platforms banks offer.

The CEO Roundtable discussion followed on banking in the future, featuring the CEOs of HSBC Holdings, KBC Group, Nordea and Société Générale. With the introduction of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, the executives felt that stability had returned to Europe’s banking system. They noted that the crisis had fundamentally altered the role of banks and adapting to new realities is an ongoing process. Johan Thijs, CEO of KBC Group, noted that though consumers might distrust ‘banks’ in the abstract sense, they still place a lot of trust in their own bank.

To close the conference, Frédéric Oudéa, CEO of Société Générale and the EBF’s incoming President, spoke about the priorities of the organisation for the coming year (video clip can be seen here). Mr. Oudéa underlined the need to restore trust in the banking sector, and ensure that banks are playing an active role in financing the economy. Given the new supervisory landscape, he also highlighted the EBF’s role as a strategic partner for the Single Supervisory Mechanism. Mr Oudéa closed by saying, “I am very proud to be a banker,” and that the EBF will play a vital role for the banking sector in meeting the challenges of the future.    


EBF contact: Raymond Frenken (