The foundations of the strategic agenda

Modus operandi and mission statement 

For close to two years, Febelfin gathered data on the financial sector and its role in society. The sector association consulted stakeholders and entered into dialogue with the public on various platforms. That ultimately led to a report which answered 22 key questions raised by society regarding the financial sector.

These questions created a rich breeding ground for delineating the core tasks for a financial sector at the service of people, society and the economy. The strategic agenda goes a step further, and converts the sector’s answers to society’s questions into specific goals and commitments in the short and medium term.

The purpose of Febelfin’s strategic is to set the direction the banking sector is already taking today and will continue to take over the next five years. It identifies the core tasks of the Belgian banks and tries to gain an insight into the challenges the sector will face in the coming months and years. It also formulates responses to these challenges and sets out specific commitments for the financial sector in Belgium.

Central to the strategic agenda of Febelfin and its members is the idea of a sustainable and vigorous financial sector. Banks must commit fully to their core tasks at the service of people, society and the economy. They must achieve this, inter alia, by providing credit, but in a balanced way. This means that risks need to be managed and spread in such a way that the economic and social potential of a country can develop fully, without, however, endangering its stability.

The strategic agenda is the result of an extensive exercise conducted within the entire sector. This took place in six working groups, each of which focused on one specific area:

1. Finding stable solutions for surplus liquidity

Erwin Schoeters, General Manager Retail and Private Banking, KBC

2. Broadening and securing the financing of the economy

Dirk Wouters, Member of the Executive Committee, Bank J. Van Breda and C°

3. Building a common view on key distribution changes

Michael Anseeuw, Head of alternative retail brands, BNP Paribas Fortis

4. Promoting electronic payments

Luc Van Thielen, Member of the Management Board, Belfius
Jacques Godet, Member of the Executive Committee, BNP Paribas Fortis

5. Restoring the attractiveness of banks as employers

Ann Van de Perre, HR Director, ING Belgique

6. Reflecting on tax regimes for savings products

Luc Versele, Chief Executive Officer, Crelan

A common vision shared by the entire sector was developed for each of these themes.

The highest levels of management in the financial sector stand behind the messages resulting from the strategic agenda. In other words, the 3 core tasks, 3 keys to success and 4 commitments of the strategic agenda have been endorsed by all sections of the Belgian financial world.

The six working groups were each headed by a senior banker specialising in the area in question.

Various other partners provided independent advice or study work to support the exercise. KPMG, an international network of consultants, investigated certain aspects of the exercise in independent studies, as did KU Leuven. Freddy Van den Spiegel, professor at Vlerick Business School and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in turn acted as a sounding board for the various working groups.

Information was also gathered via several side-projects to the strategic agenda, such as the research project The Bank of the Future (