About the EBF Blueprint
The banking sector is much more than an industry and more than an employer. Banks represent strategic partners for Europe’s economy. They channel savings to investments to ensure economic activity and growth and provide essential services in a secure and reliable way for their customers, consumers and corporates alike: deposits, lending, distribution and access to funds, financial advice and payments, among other products and services. Today, they fulfil a vital role in the economy, not to mention that they have always been used as a tool for public policy and it will still be the case in the future (e.g. transmission channel for monetary policy and access to finance). In this way they play a key part in society and distinguish themselves from the other players.
The emergence of new technologies such as cloud-based systems, high-speed wireless network, biometrics or instant payment systems is leading to more efficient banking services, generating many new opportunities for banks and better products and services for their customers. If banks are sometimes perceived as ‘conservative’, they are actually highly innovative actors, constantly embracing change over the years. In this respect, the current digital revolution is simply another significant step in the history of banking.
Digital banking is often understood to be the use of mobile banking or online payments but its meaning is much broader. It encompasses the ability to interact digitally with customers. This is done by integrating digital technologies (e.g. through the use of strategic analytics tools such as big data, social media, innovative payment solutions, mobile technology) and by providing services through digital channels in real time, a seamless experience with appropriate security and authentication systems. Digital banking is, in fact, all about improving the customer experience.
The aim of the EBF Blueprint
The European Banking Federation’s (EBF) Blueprint on Digital Banking aims at helping to understand more effectively the digital transformation initiated by banks more effectively. The EBF Blueprint focuses on the challenges and opportunities in retail banking. It also explains why banks should be considered as strategic players in the Digital Single Market (DSM).
With the aim of encouraging discussion and reflection among banks and EU policy makers, the EBF Blueprint proposes recommendations on which to build a proper framework for a workable DSM. Recommendations, to ensure that the reforms undertaken will lead to the desired effects: restoring trust, creating a competitive and innovative market, and boosting economic growth and employment.
In particular, the EBF blueprint provides indications on the changing environment driven by customer expectations, a description of today’s digital bank representing an innovative customer experience, and a portrayal of the bank of the future. And more importantly, the barriers and opportunities for banks and their customers linked to some fundamental issues: better access to banking products and services, big data, payments (mobile/instant and e-invoicing), cybersecurity, crypto-technologies, e-identification, digital skills (education, competencies, recruitment), and the importance of removing regulatory inconsistencies and ensuring fair competition.
As a next step, the EBF Blueprint will be followed by ‘issue papers’ proposing an in-depth analysis on the strategic topics identified.
The role of the European Banking Federation
In light of the rapid emergence of digital banking services, the banking sector is placed at the centre of this digital transformation.
The European Banking Federation (EBF), as representative of the European banking industry, is committed to accompanying banks in this transformation. Namely, to discuss with European institutions the reality of a regulatory environment conducive to establishing secure, reliable and efficient digital banking services. In addition, the EBF, in its commitment to generating a single market for financial services and to supporting policies that foster economic growth, is the obvious strategic partner in the creation of an ambitious Digital Single Market.
The EBF, as the voice of the European banking sector unites 32 national banking associations in Europe which together represent some 4,500 banks - large and small, wholesale and retail, local and international - employing about 2.5 million people. EBF members represent banks which make loans available to the European economy in excess of €20 trillion and securely handle more than 400 million payment transactions per day.