Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 5

One of our colleagues was there



The 19th World Savings Banks Congress was held in Berlin this year on June 26-29, with the motto 'Think Globally, Act Locally, Cooperate Internationally'.


I was invited to attend this congress as a pensioner of a Savings Bank from Berlin, as all my work life was spent in a Savings Bank. More than 2,000 people from 50 different countries attended this Congress, and I was favourably impressed by this fact, because in East Germany we were totally isolated from the occidental world for more than 40 years.


The Congress opening speech, given by Queen Sofia, Honorary President of the World Savings Banks Summit since 1997, impressed me specially. The German press treated her speech in a very favourable way.


During her speech, she asked the Savings Banks to maintain their social commitment in spite of the radical changes that the financial markets had been going through: 'never before solidarity has been so much needed in our society'. Savings Banks must adapt to the new circumstances and, at the same time, they must remain faithful to their original objectives.


Queen Sofia talked specially about the microcredits applied in the developing countries in order to help people with a low income to become independent and escape from poverty.


I was also impressed by the humility shown by the Queen during her speech and with all the participants as well. Queen Sofia represented her country admirably.


Despite the general expositions of different participants about the changes suffered by the Savings Banks, I thought that the practical proposals of the Spanish President of the World Savings Banks Institute, Mr. Manuel Pizarro Moreno, were specially interesting.


Mr. Pizarro wondered why some European Savings Banks turn to another financial institutions when they need to carry out economic transactions in other countries. In his opinion, all the financial activities in other countries should be made jointly, in association with Savings Banks from those countries. We hope that this proposal will not go with the wind and will be one of the decisions taken by the Association of Savings Banks.


Similarly, we must emphasise the decentralised structure of the Savings Banks, which count on a net that includes the communication between all these entities, making it easier, a net all the most important speakers talked about.


All in all, the German press emphasised the fact that the Spanish Savings Banks are the most important banking sector in the country.



Hans-Georg Günther