Despite current uncertainty in the banking industry, the mood at Sibos – the annual international banking conference sponsored by SWIFT and held recently in Amsterdam – was felt to be positive. The event attracted more than 9000 delegates from 150 countries and 175 speakers.
One particular point that the conference underscored was the fact that payments are inherently local. Despite the reach of multinational banks, financial technology providers and collaborative payment networks, most countries appear to rely on domestic payment schemes for the vast majority of transactions.
During a discussion on global payments, it was pointed out that one of the primary drivers of increased adoption of electronic payment was eCommerce.
Naturally, China featured prominently on the agenda and the Chinese bank pavilions on the exhibit floor were the largest of all as if to draw attention to their country’s dominance.
There was a panel discussion on banking in India and China and one illuminating point was made by Om Prakash Bhatt, chairman of the State Bank of India, who in highlighting the contrast between the developed and developing world, said that the biggest challenge facing Indian banks was how to manage massive growth.