The 12th Conference on Payments and Market Infrastructures, organized by the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia in cooperation with the Nederlandsche Bank started today. The representatives of the Eurosystem and the central banks of the Western Balkans and the Black Sea region have reunited in Ohrid in order to exchange opinions and discuss the latest world payments trends and the challenges for their application. This year’s conference program, titled "Open doors to the changing payments landscape" envisages active discussions until Wednesday, as well as presentation of a numerous expert views on a number of key issues related to amendments in the EU payment sector’s legislation, the latest payment solutions managed by FinTech companies, open banking, the development of instant payments, digital currencies and crypto assets.
“Financial technologies and innovations give a new perspective of the financial sector, create new service providers, business models, new products and solutions, changing the entire financial ecosystem ... The surge of financial innovations coming from the new participants, as well as from current payment service providers the market, creates major changes in the financial industry,"- said the Governor of the National Bank, Anita Angelovska Bezhoska, at the beginning of her opening speech of the Conference. She emphasized that in this context, the focus of this year's Conference is the acceptance of the changes, i.e. the opening of the doors for financial innovations in the payment landscape, while preventing financial market distortions and overall financial stability.
"The new wave of digitization can have a big positive impact on the economy - it fosters innovations and productivity, transforms public and private services, contributes to greater financial inclusion of households with insufficient access to services and, generally, to improving the well-being of the society, enabling greater access to information, knowledge and data. The benefits go hand in hand with job challenges and skills, taxation, financial markets and encourage a new way of thinking about how to protect basic rights, such as privacy and security, as well as monetary and financial stability” - said Angelovska Bezhoska, noting that financial innovations underpinned by digitization have the potential to gradually restructure the financial sector.
In her address, she also referred to the data on the FinTech development and investment, which as she said, confirm that financial innovations change the environment not only for the consumers, but also for the traditional banking industry and for the policy makers, who are facing new challenges. Commenting on the challenges for the banking sector arising from the development of the FinTech, the Governor pointed out that a very important factor, which most likely will shape the future of traditional banking, is the way in which banks are keen to accept financial innovation either directly or independently, or through cooperation with new financial companies. "Not only will the FinTech companies try to behave like banks, but also the banks will try to act as a financial companies," Angelovska Bezhoska said.
At the end of her address, the Governor stressed that the National Bank and the Ministry of Finance continue to work together on the Draft Law on Payment Services and Payment Systems that transposes the provisions of the Payment Services Directive 2, as well as other relevant regulations of the European Union in the area of payments.
The Governor also said that following the examples of the EU central banks, the National Bank is in the process of creating a work group that will closely monitor the development of the FinTech, in cooperation with the institutions that are planning to introduce new services. This will help such institutions to better understand the regulatory conditions, simultaneously enabling the National Bank to properly learn about the development processes of the FinTech, through risk assessment and rewriting of the regulatory framework.
At the opening of this international Conference, Michiel van Doeveren from the Nederlandsche Bank addressed the meeting, emphasizing among other things the importance of digital payments stimulation by banks. According to the latest estimations, the North Macedonia puts a lot of efforts in modernization of the national payment systems and products, and it should continue in doing so. Van Doeveren also suggested that the combination of instant payments and access to an account under the Payment Services Directive 2 additionally opens the doors for new and modern payment products.
During today's conference day, representatives of several central banks from the Eurosystem, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the European Central Bank, will deliver their expert presentations. The program for tomorrow's conference day will begin with addresses by the Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdovski and the Minister of Information Society and Administration Damjan Mancevski, followed by the speech of the representative of the Bank for International Settlements, with a panel a discussion being also held where distinguished experts from the banking and the FinTech sector will discuss about the open banking world and the innovations in payments.
On Wednesday, a number of experts will discuss several key issues on new trends in the payment area and in separate working groups, after which the concluding observations of this year's Conference edition will also be presented.
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