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By: CL@B 2017: conclusions of the 17th financial technology and innovation conference

Miami, September 1, 2017 – The conference, organized jointly by the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) and the Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos (FELABAN), reunited more than 1,000 leaders to discuss the future of the industry.

“This has been a dynamic and exciting few days,” said David Schwartz, president and CEO of FIBA. “We set out to take a close look at the trends that are most impacting our transforming sector. I believe this goal was achieved: more than ever, the players realize they need nimbleness, flexibility and a customer-centric culture to succeed,” he concluded.

“Banks must adapt to new technologies and financial institutions must work hard for better financial inclusion of clients from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. In addition, this has to be supported by a variety of digital channels and innovation,” commented Juan Manuel Carvajal Castro, Export Advisor, Procolombia.

The key findings were:

Digital transformation & innovations: Corporations must push for close collaboration with Fintechs. This will be essential to create business models to respond to evolving customer demands. Banks must think as technology companies.

Cybersecurity: Latin America is the new frontier of cybercrime. However, even as this threat advances fast, regional institutions are still in denial. They need to react fast and prepare accordingly.

Big data/machine learning/AI: an staggering amount of data is being collected. The challenge is to turn it into predictive customer analytics and be able to offer better services.

Financial inclusion: People without access to banking offer one of the sector’s best business opportunities. But the ability to provide affordable services will be key.

Regulation: it is necessary, but it should not stifle innovation. Global standards must be set. The industry can not thrive in such a fragmented regulatory environment.

Virtual currencies: that’s the future, and it already manifests itself in many forms, such as reward cards, frequent flyer miles, reward programs and corporate pre-paid cards. Alternative methods will co-exist with real money.

“Protecting the finances of customers is more than an added value, it is about giving them the confidence to carry out transactions without worrying about losing data or investments,” said Roberto Arbeláez, Microsoft Chief Security Advisor for the Americas.

“Businesses are changing fast. Banking is no exception to the rule. New players, new regulations and new security threats emerge every day. Business models must adjust to meet these new challenges,” commented Gustavo Vega Villamil, president of CLAB. “The answer is collaboration, both internal and external.

By: “A Digital Bank has digital at its core, and that is still not happening with many.”

Chris Skinner, CL@B keynote speaker and author of the bestselling book Digital Bank and its new sequel ValueWeb, will be on the main stage on Friday, September 1st, to share his latest insights on the financial revolution. Chris will also be autographing copies of his books, and will be available for a meet and greet following his presentation.

In an exclusive interview with FIBA, Chris shares some thoughts on his books, the state of FinTech and the challenges banks are still facing.

Your book “Digital Bank” published in 2014 included extensive guidance and background on the digital revolution in banking that was taking place. Are changes going at the speed and in the direction you envisioned?

Yes. I think the book was timely, in that it came out just as FinTech started to take off and digital became the buzzword. Nearly every bank I talk to now has some form of digital leadership program, and is investing in systems refreshment and working with start-ups. The disappointing part of this is that banks are still finding it really hard to change. Their leadership teams are not up to the job of digital transformation in many cases, and think that just rolling out a mobile app has given them a digital bank. It hasn’t. It’s just an app. A digital bank has digital at its core, and that is still not happening with many. It will, but it needs a change of leadership for the bank to make this happen.

You mentioned in your book that Barclays, mBank, Metro Bank and FIDOR Bank are examples of corporations embracing the changes or being born as a consequence of the new landscape. Do you still consider all of them outstanding examples or have other competitors surpassed them? In that case, who are they and what are they doing right.

They are good examples, but others are now in the frame. For example, in the UK, we have seen many new banks starting up with Monzo leading the pack. Equally, Che! Banca in Italy and Bunq in the Netherlands have caught my interest. There has also been notable banks making headway like BBVA in Europe, DBS in Asia and Capital One in the USA. The digital field is getting more and more coverage as the years go by.

You used to think the implication was that banks must become digitalized, and that was a challenge as becoming a Digital Bank demanded new services focused upon 21st-century technologies. Is that still the challenge or has industry evolved and new challenges have emerged?

This is still the key challenge. What frustrates me is that banks are not tackling the fundamental issues, which is rationalising their data architectures, moving services to the cloud, developing open banking APIs and partnering more to co-create innovation. Until banks get real technology leadership and move away from being proprietary creatures based upon old systems and legacy structures, they will never get digital.

How does your new book relate to “Digital Bank?” Is it a sequel?

It is. The two books are siblings if you like. Digital Bank focused upon how to become a digital bank, whilst ValueWeb focuses upon the rise of FinTech and how blockchain and mobile technologies are building an internet of value. You need an internet of value to work with the internet of things, and the internet of value, or ValueWeb, is real-time and low-cost.

What is the role of FinTech  in building up ValueWeb?

FinTech is at the core of the ValueWeb, with new visionary firms building the new network. Those firms include Stripe, Venmo, Ant Financial, Paytm, Stellar, Ripple and more. Combined, these firms are reimagining financial services for the internet age.

What are the challenges ValueWeb needs to overcome to unlock its potential?

Actually, it is more a question of the challenges ValueWeb raises for financial institutions, governments and citizens. For example, a key part of ValueWeb is blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. How are financial institutions and governments creating agreements to use these technologies for the next generation infrastructure, as its these technologies which will replace our passports, our benefits systems, our major infrastructures like SWIFT. These things are developing, but it takes time, with the Dubai government probably being at the forefront here. Dubai announced in 2016 that, by 2020, all government systems will be based upon blockchain technologies to ensure that all operations are digitised and no longer on paper. They are making it happen.

Are you working on a new book?

Yes. It will be released next year, and I would call it part three of this trilogy, as the new book focuses upon financial inclusion and how the ValueWeb is offering digital finance to everyone on this planet, not just the elite.

What is it called?

Digital Human.

What advice do you want to give our readers?

Checkout my blog, I share ideas there every day and people tell me it’s useful. Equally, I would love to hear from your readers too.


About Chris Skinner

Chris Skinner is known as an independent commentator on the financial markets and fintech through his blog, the, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank and its new sequel ValueWeb. He is Chair of the European networking forum The Financial Services Club and Nordic Finance Innovation, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of the Fintech consultancy firm 11:FS.

He is on the Advisory Boards of many companies including IOTA, Innovate Finance, Moven and Meniga, and has been voted one of the most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News.

By: Ernst & Young to Unveil White Paper Created Exclusively for #CLAB2017

Miami, August 16, 2017 – “Challenges and Trends of Digital Transformation for the Financial Services Industry,” by Ernst & Young (EY), analyzes digital transformation, technologies that drive innovation, FinTech as a driver of transformation in the banking value chain, and cybersecurity.

  • 71% of customers globally, and 80% in Latin America, believe that technology facilitates having products with several financial institutions
  • The pace of evolution in the market is so intense that staying static is equal to staying behind
  • The FinTech industry will transform banking as we know it; it will be the collaboration – not the competition – that is the catalyst of that transformation
  • The three priorities related to cybersecurity are: prevention of data leakage or loss, business continuity with computer support, and user access and identification management

Digital Transformation

According to EY, digital technology has become so important for financial services customers that they consider it essential for an “excellent” experience. The firm encourages financial services providers to optimize the variety of communication channels, so as to serve both the younger, digitally-oriented consumers, as well as the older generations that value physical relationships.

The Global Consumer Banking Survey (EY 2016) revealed that 71% of customers globally and more than 80% in Latin America believe technology eases working with financial institutions. However, surveys also show that 36% of clients are willing to share more personal information if that helps banks anticipate their needs more accurately.

As customers gradually replace the use of traditional channels with digital ones, EY believes branches will not disappear, but will facilitate more specialized services to be offered to the client, and thus the concept of the “traditional channel” will be renewed.

The white paper suggests corporations should consider alliances to offer a broader ecosystem of services, seeking a balance that would allow them to own some products or services, with FinTechs to offer others, and both to benefit from alliances. Finally, organizations must promote an innovative culture within their organization, cultivating multifaceted teams that seek collaboration and always offer the best possible service to the client, regardless of the channel.

Technologies that Drive Innovation

As EY will explain in the launch of this study exclusively design for CL@B, firms in the financial industry can benefit from using robots and artificial intelligence machines that can perform tasks of different complexities quicker and without errors.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), one of the most prominent technologies in financial innovation, can be integrated into existing interfaces without requiring changes to systems and can reduce the cost of manual high frequency operations by 40% or more. At the same time, RPA improves the quality of service. “It is important to note that RPA technology is self-financing, the immediate savings obtained with RPA can be reinvested in other measures of profitability,” says the document.

“There is growing recognition that analytics can be applied across all areas of the business, and if not, reinvent it,” said Chris Mazzei, EY Chief Analytics Officer and Emerging Technology Leader. “And while many companies started analytics to improve today’s processes, they are now expanding to rethink what they sell, how they sell it, who they sell it to, and how to differentiate themselves from their competition.”

Technologies driving financial innovation are in different stages of maturity and “without a doubt, many have the potential to significantly change the industry in the coming years.” Competition, technology, big data, regulations, and advanced analytics based on machine learning are forcing a new focus on organizations, and – according to EY – the speed of change in the market is so intense that staying static is equal to staying behind.

EY thinks Financial Institutions “need to understand the technology in order to make informed decisions about how and when to respond to technological advances and changes in processes and models of business that this will bring.”

FinTech as a Driver of Transformation in the Banking Value Chain

The first EY Fintech Adoption Index study, conducted in 2015, wanted to know how many of the digitally active consumers already used a FinTech regularly. The answer was that 16% of them had used two or more FinTech services in the previous 6 months. This study also indicated that adoption could double in the near future, but the recent 2017 study reveals that this has happened in as little as 18 months. The growth of the industry has strengthened the common thinking that FinTech will transform banking. However, it will be collaboration – and not competition – that is the main catalyst of that transformation.

Building this ecosystem will also require substantial commitment to regulators, who increasingly expect banks to be able to ensure that providers and third parties can offer the same level of capability and security of processes as banks themselves.

FinTech’s global industry is growing rapidly, driven by a powerful mix of start-ups and technology players. Banks that want to tap into this potential must act now to find ways to engage with these innovative organizations and build value-creating partnerships. Unless Banks and FinTech improve their work together, they will not receive all the benefits of innovation.

Cybersecurity: Who is responsible?

Lastly, EY´s White Paper for CL@B notes that the customer who uses the service channels of a financial institution must understand how each channel works, including the security aspects of information to be able to use them correctly. On the one hand, it is the responsibility of the user to learn, but it is also the responsibility of the financial institution to provide the means for this learning to be effective. Knowledge and understanding of the client about information security will allow him/her to recognize situations that do not seem normal and take appropriate action.

According to the EY Global Information Security Survey, at security level, the three priorities for banking companies are: Preventing data leakage or loss; The continuity of the business with computer support; and Access management and user identification.

By: “You must have an incident response plan practiced and in place prior to the actual cyber security incident occurring.”

Robert Villanueva, EVP, Q6 Cyber and veteran of the US Secret Service, specializing in international cybercrime, network intrusions, and identity theft breaches will be participating in CL@B 2017, the Financial Technology and Innovation Conference starting Augut 30th in Miami. Get a scoop at his insigths before you see him life.

What should we expect in the next 5 years? How is the environment going to change (crime and protection)? 

During the next 5 years you should see more of the same types of targeted cyber-attacks, threats, malware proliferation and network intrusions that are conducted daily now on the private sector. Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDOS), Business Email Compromises (BEC) and Ransomware are a multi-Billion Dollar fraud industry for cyber criminals and they will not cease. I do see the private sector taking a more proactive approach in combatting and disrupting some of this targeted criminality on their networks.

What should a financial services corporation beware more of: domestic cybercriminals or big international networks?

International Eastern European cyber criminals are by far the principal and most significant threat to the Financial Infrastructure of the U.S.A. and the rest of the Americas. As the former head of the Cyber Intelligence Section for the U.S. Secret Service, I have seen an escalation of the professionalism and actual “hacker for hire” of this Eurasian miscreant online community throughout the years. Now, while working in the private sector at Q6 Cyber (an international cyber threat intelligence company), I am witnessing a substantial “uptick” of more transnational criminal collaboration and online communication between Eastern European and Latin American cyber threat actors via private forums.

Which are the industries most often targeted by cybercrime and why?

The Financial, Retail, Hospitality and Heath Care Sectors are the ones most often targeted by international cyber criminals. All these industries deal with payment cards, financial data and PII information and obtaining this information is usually a cyber criminal’s primary objective. Any sort of financial data (i.e online bank, brokerage or retirement accounts) is also frequently targeted by sophisticated malware for collection and sale on the Dark Web.

Which are the ones that spend the most in protection? How much should a company spend in protection?

Larger Financial Institutions, Retail Establishments and Fortune 500 Companies have more financial resources and therefore, will invest more in comprehensive cyber security and cyber intelligence programs. Every financial institution, company and/or business (no matter the size) should factor cyber security costs for prevention and security incidents into their yearly budget.

What percentage of cybercrimes could have been / can be prevented by protection, and what does that protection consist on?

Cybercrime can be mitigated and disrupted through cyber security planning and proactive cyber intelligence. Basic “cyber security hygiene” (antivirus, strong passwords and updates) are essential and just the start.  Companies must hire well qualified/experienced individuals and vendors to enhance their cyber security posture to be more secure. The regular training of company staff as well as network penetration testing (by an external professional) should be a consistent and annual event.

The “weak link” of cybercrime mitigation is most frequently the end user (i.e. customer) who’s education level and cyber security awareness varies considerably. Often times, their financial information is compromised through malware infections on their personal computers. This stolen financial data (including online log in credentials) eventually winds up on the Dark Web and then is trafficked by international cyber criminals. This is where a reputable Cyber Intelligence vendor comes in and attempts to disrupt the criminal activity before the fraud is incurred by the financial institution.

Is the cooperation between corporations, cyberpolice, governments, other authorities good enough or it needs changes, and which ones?

I have seen an increase in collaboration between the private and public sectors during the past few years. It is getting better, but there is a lot of room for improvement in both sectors. Remember, often times cyber criminals are not targeting a specific company, but a sector. By working together, you can combine your knowledge and resources to be more prepared with the actual current trends affecting your business sector so you can take appropriate action before you become a target.

Cooperation between international law enforcement agencies that investigate cybercrime is usually very good. Although depending on the country, timely and complete cooperation is sometimes challenging. This also varies on the political climate, level of cybercrime knowledge/education and antiquated laws in foreign countries that do not recognize cybercrime yet as an independent offense.

Is the fight against cybercrime a priority in all the different countries and companies in the Americas?

Unfortunately, many countries and companies in the Americas lack the resources or are just reactive in properly securing their networks from sophisticated international malicious actors. It is important to seek assistance from qualified vendors with the expertise in the cyber security and cyber intelligence field. Please do your due diligence on all vendors prior to engaging with any of them.

You are participating at the CL@B conference in Miami. In your opinion, why are these events important to the financial community in Miami?

Events like the CL@B and participating in organizations like FIBA are very important to the local South Florida financial sector and community. Besides networking opportunities, the CL@B conference brings both education and awareness of the current areas of concern to members of the financial sector.

What is “the message” for our readers?

Take the time to properly evaluate your company’s cyber security plan and make cyber intelligence an important component of it.  Be “proactive” and do not wait for any fraud issues or an incident to occur.

Remember, it is in not a matter of “if” you will have a computer network security incident, it is a matter of “when” it will happen. You must have an incident response plan “practiced and in place” prior to the actual cyber security incident occurring.


About Robert Villaueva

Robert Villanueva is a 25-year veteran of the US Secret Service, specializing in international cybercrime, network intrusions, and identity theft breaches. He is Founder of the US Secret Service Cyber Intelligence Section. He led a regional electronic crime task force, with more than 800 members of the private sector, academy and police forces. Robert is a member of the steering committee of several organizations and universities.

By: CL@B 2017: How emerging technologies and innovation are disrupting the banking industry

Over 1,000 financial services industry executives and Corporations will gather in Miami, from August 30th to September 1st, to discuss themes such as digital transformation, financial inclusion, cybersecurity and blockchain.

Miami, August 10, 2017 – Organized jointly by the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) and the Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos (FELABAN), CL@B is the biggest and most prestigious financial technology and innovation conference in regards to Latin America.

The impact of innovative start-ups on the banking and financial institutions is undisputable. Competitive threats are coming from everywhere at a time in which customer behavior is changing fast. If traditional institutions are to survive the digital era, they must embrace innovation and find ways to partner with change agents. This discussion needs to involve all the industry’s major players: big and small financial institutions, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, regulators and government. CL@B 2017 will bring them all together at the Intercontinental Hotel, from Aug 30th to September 1st .

A diverse and dynamic group of about 1,000 senior leaders from multiple countries and fields of expertise will address some of the industry’s most pressing themes and trends including: Cybersecurity, the future of payment, Blockchain, the Fintech effect, regulatory challenges and Big Data analytics.

The conference, coming into its 17th year, presents a platform for networking with the industry’s top professionals and attend expert panel discussions that will help generate ideas to address current and future challenges.

The speakers’ lineup include: keynote Chris Skinner, author and advisor to the White House; Robleh Ali, Research Scientist of the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative; Miguel Caldentey, Financial Services Advisory at Ernst & Young, in addition to senior leaders from Bank of America, World Bank, Facebook, PayPal, Delloite, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, IBM Watson, Citibank, Visa, SAP, IDC, Mastercard, BBVA, Ocean Bank, and several Fintech innovators and entrepreneurs.

“In a time of great anxiety for the industry, incumbent institutions realize that complacency is not an option,” said David Schwartz, President and CEO of FIBA. “Emerging technologies and innovative business models must be part of the solution. But the answer will probably not come from within: collaboration with external entrepreneurs and startups will invigorate existing paradigms, generate faster solutions and improve customer experiences that are so vital for traditional players to thrive. And this is what we will cover during this year’s CL@B,” he added.

The Secretary General of the Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos, FELABAN, Giorgio Trettenero Castro, commented: “In terms of technology and innovation there is much to be said: advances in many fields have been disrupting business models at speeds hard to imagine until recently. On the other hand, we are facing a new generation of businesses that will improve productivity, add new jobs and define new training needs. They will also present new challenges to the marketplace, given that stakeholders today get their information, buy and trade on-line. All this from the comfort of their mobile phones anywhere in the world.”

CL@B 2017 is supported by strategic partners including Ernst & Young, Procolombia, Microsoft, Bisagi, Infocorp, NEC, UDT and more than 100 supporting organizations.


About FIBA

Founded in 1979, the Florida International Bankers Association is a non-profit trade association that provides comprehensive support to the global financial services industry through education, conferences and advocacy. FIBA members include some of the largest financial institutions and influential organizations worldwide. FIBA is recognized by the financial services industry, regulators, and authorities, as a Center for Excellence for its knowledge and expertise.


The Federation of Latin American Banks is a non-profit entity founded by banking associations and other agencies from 19 Latin American countries in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1965, and it includes over 500 regional banks.

Its goals is to promote and facilitate communication, understanding and relationships between financial entities; to support the coordination of criteria and the unification of general banking and financial practices in Latin America; to cooperate with economic development; to promote well-being; and to procure greater access to financial services for low income populations.



Ernesto Ortiz
Americas Connection
(954) 661 4612

Rocio Lopez
Comunicación & PR
T: (305) 215 4837

By: FinTEKNEWS – Florida Emerging As A Major Fintech Epicenter

Cindy Taylor/Publisher – Is this the best kept secret in fintech?  Maybe.  While everyone is gazing at New York, Silicon Valley, Chicago and Atlanta, Florida is steadily gaining in traction in fintech and could emerge as a powerful new fintech epicenter for North America.  First, Miami is the unofficial banking capital of Latin America, that much is known.  Then there’s major financial firms there, like FIS, SS&C Advent, Tradestation, MIAX Options Exchange and scores of international banks & fintechs serving LatAm in Miami. 

On top of that, hedge funds are moving operations to Florida in droves for the tax advantages (not to mention the better weather than the Northeast).  Then there’s the brilliant new fintech accelerator TheVenture.City which recently opened its doors to much fanfare in Miami Beach.  We could keep going on and on, but suffice it to say that there is a very REAL and EMERGING fintech sector growing up in Florida, and Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA) is doing their part to keep that fact front and center.  If you’re in Miami on August 30th, check this event out.
(Cindy Taylor/Publisher)

“(Miami, August 3rd 2017) – FIBA – Florida International Bankers Association announced a new event will be taking place in Miami on Wednesday August 30th to connect FinTechs and Banks: “FIBATech”.

David Schwartz, President and CEO, FIBA:

“I am pleased to announce that FIBA will be organizing a new event, “FIBATech – Connecting FinTechs and Banks”, that will explore the innovation and disruption that technology has brought to the financial services industry through demos from FinTech companies in the fields of blockchain, payments and lending, and panel discussions between FinTech companies, bankers and technology experts and consultants.”

Alexander Sjogren, CTO, YellowPepper will be the the keynote speaker sharing his insigths in a session named Helping Banks Go Digital, following the panel Opportunities in the Current Fintech Marketplace. The panel will be moderated by Dario Fuentes, Managing Partner, Innovative Pace, and panelists will be Jorge Ruiz, Tech Founder and CEO, Above and Beyond
, Allan Cuelli, Director, Latin America & the Caribbean, VISA, and Roberto Gomes, Executive Director, Financial Services Technology, North LatAm, EY.

Following the first Demo session and before the second one takes place, Claudio Fiorillo, Senior Partner, Head of Financial Industry LatAm, Deloitte, will moderate Joe Dewey, Partner, Holland& Knight
, Thomas Wenrich, CEO, LAB Miami Ventures
, Carlos Kuchkovsky, CTO – New Digital Business, BBVA, and Brian Graham, CEO, AlliancePartners, in the session How to partner with Banks: Opportunities and Obstacles.