Nov 292014

MANILA, Philippines – Asian Bankers Association (ABA) chairman Lorenzo V. Tan has urged bankers to open up the region’s economies through innovative yet segmented financial services.

Speaking at the 31st ABA General Meeting and Conference in Muscat, Oman, Tan underscored the important role of ABA in addressing issues that impact the whole banking industry with special focus on the requirements of Asian banks.

“Our Oman gathering is designed to provide another platform for ABA members, and our invited experts, to discuss matters of significant interest to Asian banks on our journey in the modern-day silk route towards economic growth and increased prosperity for our people,” Tan, who is also the president of Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), said.

ABA’s membership includes over 100 of the leading banks from 25 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“The challenge is to help unlock further the potential of the region’s economies through excellence in segmented financial services to customers, from the largest conglomerates to the smallest enterprises and even to microfinance,” Tan said.

He said it could be through innovative products that help the movement of debt and equity from markets with excess funds to markets with demand for development such as in infrastructure, manufacturing equipment or other long term needs.

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This could be through the efficient and low-cost cash management and distribution systems, enabled by the use of innovations in technology.

Asian banks are also urged to keep abreast with risk management expertise, including cyber security and protecting the integrity of bank transactions and those of customers.

The ABA chairman said the international banking landscape continues to evolve in regulations, technology, in financial markets, and expertise.

“The ABA hopes that we can address these issues effectively so that we can lead our banks better, specially during periods of change. We must devise, for instance, strategies on Basel III as it tends to reduce return on equity, restricting the organic growth of our capital base and consequently the rate of growth in the size of our banks,” Tan, president and chief executive officer of Rizal Commercial and Banking Corp. (RCBC), pointed out.

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