World Savings Banks Institute
The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute is an international banking association. It currently gathers 109 members in 92 countries throughout the world, comprising approximately 7,000 savings and retail banks. These institutions operate some 209,000 branches & outlets and employ around 2.5 million people. At the start of 2010, total assets of WSBI members amounted to €8,959 billion.
WSBI was founded 1924 at the occasion of the First International Thrift Congress in Milan. Until the Second World War the headquarters of the International Savings Banks Institute remained in Milan. But since Milan had suffered from heavy bombings the Institute moved to Amsterdam in 1948.
In 1963, WSBI's sister organization, the 'Savings Banks Group of the European Economic Community' was created to represent European Savings Banks from the merging European markets. This institution was renamed European Savings Banks Group in 1988.
The International Savings Banks Institute was again relocated in 1969, this time to Geneva where it remained until 1994 when it was dissolved. In its place, a newly created World Savings Banks Institute (WSBI) was established in Brussels on 9 June 1994. Since then they have changed their name to the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute and European Savings and Retail Banking Group (WSBI-ESBG), and continue to operate under a common secretariat located in Brussels.
WSBI is the global representative of its members, typically savings and retail banks or association thereof, and fosters cooperation between them. It works closely with international financial institutions and publishes research papers and studies on current banking & financial issues. WSBI also provides technical consultancy in partnership with multilateral agencies and offers training to its members.