The banking industry, like all other sectors, saw the urgency for transformation to keep up with the new normal brought by the pandemic. Bankers must continue to be conversant with the developments, such as in technology and the renewed focus on sustainability, to further do their best in their role to the economy, even as the country moves past the crisis and looks forward to a better normal.
Being in a quest towards attaining banking excellence, the Bankers Institute of the Philippines, Inc. (BAIPHIL) will further uphold its purpose to educate and prime the bankers in the country in this year’s BAIPHIL Training and Development Week, which will be highlighted by the 32nd BAIPHIL Convention (BAICON).
The BAIPHIL Week takes place every second week of March, as declared through Proclamation No. 1248 signed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. As such, from March 6 to 11 this year, BAIPHIL will conduct a series of lectures and trainings.
“We have a series of activities for the banks, the bankers, and the regulators of the banks to meet together,” BAIPHIL President Myrna E. Amahan told BusinessWorld in an interview. “This is really more to highlight banking and our role in the economy and the country.”
The BAIPHIL Week will culminate with the BAICON, which is biennially organized by the association. The 32nd BAICON will be held on March 10-12 at Taal Vista in Tagaytay City.
Centered on the theme “Innovate! Train! Certify! Bringing Out the Best in Banking,” the 32nd BAICON gathers the banking community and regulators for discussions relevant to the pursuit of improving the country’s banking industry.
“The theme is always aligned with the strategic direction of BAIPHIL for this year,” said BAIPHIL President Amahan.
The organization’s strategic planning involves continuing on with innovations and trainings, then the certification of bankers. “Why are we doing this? Because we really want to bring out the best in banking,” she said.
“We chose this theme because we believe that banking is a major component of the Philippine economy. And us doing our jobs well, we are actually also serving our country,” she added.
In the two days of BAICON, the general sessions will focus on maintaining the relevance, the future-proofing, and sustainability in the banking sector.
The first general session, which will look into the “Continuing Relevance of the Financial Industry in the New Normal,” will discuss making synergy happen through digital transformation as well as the experiences and initiatives to prepare an organization to keep its relevance.
“Future-Proofing Banks through Innovative Products and Services” will be the focus of the second general session, which will center on striking the balance in innovation through digital transformation and cybersecurity with regulatory compliance.
Other discussions will also include the collaboration of banks and electronic money institutions; outlook on cyberthreats in the country; and experiences and initiatives in future-proofing organizations.
“There are a lot of other competitors out there that are not banks; they are fintechs. They also eat already a piece of our pie. So what do we have to do? We have to keep up; we have to step up,” said Ms. Amahan, explaining the significance of such discussions.
She also mentioned the importance for banks to know the risks and regulations. “Regulations help us also to mitigate these risks. So, we have to future-proof our banks.”
The BAICON will also delve into “Sustainable Banking through the Integration of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Principles,” which will talk about mental health and financial services for a society that is “prosperous, inclusive, and resilient.”
“Sustainability finance should already be integrated into the banking activity. So, this is what we will talk about, and financial inclusion as well,” Ms. Amahan shared.
Meeting regulators and fellow bankers
The highlight of BAICON will be the gathering of bankers and meeting the regulators, said Ms. Amahan.
With the regulators’ participation in the convention, Ms. Amahan highlighted how the event could be a way for bankers to further understand regulations on the banking sector coming from the regulators themselves.
“I really look forward to it because it’s my chance to hear the ‘why’ of our regulators,” she said.
“Banks are the most regulated industry. There are a lot of regulations that we have to follow. But if we understand the ‘why’, it is less difficult to do,” she added.
BAIPHIL has invited representatives from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Senate to join the convention.
Ms. Amahan shared that they are also looking to invite Senator Mark A. Villar, being the chair of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies.
And as the BAICON will bring together bankers, they could share and learn from each other’s experiences during the event.
“We’d really like various banks to send representatives to BAICON because it’s really full of new learnings. Another would be new friends that they will meet there, that they can network with when they go back to their work, and even call up and share or ask for advice from,” she said.
BAIPHIL also hopes that the convention will be one of the avenues to deepen the engagement among its 68 institutional members and 147 associate members, as well as those who have already retired.
Members of the organization are made up of universal, commercial, foreign, OBUs, thrift, rural, and government banks, fintech companies, PCHC and regulatory agencies, such as BSP & PDIC, as well as key executives as associates and life members.
“Every two years, we bring all the bankers to strengthen the membership. So, it’s more of learning, networking, and strengthening,” BAIPHIL COO Ben Venardo Cual said.
“All that we do around BAIPHIL, particularly the national convention, is aligned with the essence of BAIPHIL, the vision-mission, and our corporate values,” he added.
Envisioning itself as a leader in the pursuit of banking excellence in Asia-Pacific, BAIPHIL is on a mission to support the banking sector in improving its capability and promoting good governance through continuing education, information exchange, and research.
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