The ATM & Payments Innovation Summit, Flagship Event of ATMIA Europe, just has to be rated the best event in its class of 2018!
It all got underway on 17 October, with two superb workshops, one of which was effectively a tutorial run by CashFlows for anyone wanting to get started as an Independent ATM Deployer. I was delighted to participate in this workshop, as were many other guest presenters. The industry needs as many good new entrants as possible, so this was a very timely workshop indeed, jam-packed with experts ready, willing and able to offer insightful advice.
On the evening of the 17th, those who had accepted an invitation to the Summit Launch Party – around 150 guests in total – were welcomed to the prestigious Financial Club of Genova, situated in central Madrid. Jointly sponsored by the ATMIA and Prosegur, the party was voted a great success by all who attended.
The rooftop location, with a sun drenched terrace affording spectacular views of magnificent Madrid, was, quite simply, a totally perfect location.
The Wine & Tapas were also excellent, but the highlight of the entire evening was a European ATMIA Award Ceremony, at which Prosegur were recognised as European Member of the Year for 2018. I was delighted to present the award to the CEO of Prosegur Cash, Jose Antonio Lasanta, who afterwards made an inspiring call for all who care about cash to work together to ensure it prospers as a payment choice.
The award was met with rapturous applause, as all at the party acclaimed the well-deserved winner.
It was hard to upstage the Launch Party – but Day 1 of the main Summit almost succeeded in doing just that!
As the host of the whole event, it was my honour to greet the 430 attendees from around the planet – 30 more than the envisaged capacity of the venue – with everyone eager to join in, to help create and share in the excitement.
Tom Harper, the founder of the ATMIA was amongst those attending, along with many other luminaries of the ATM and Payments Industries.
Every continent- apart from Antarctica – was represented in the auditorium as the Summit burst into life!
In my brief opening remarks, I thanked many people, including the Sponsors and Exhibitors and, of course, all of those attending. My extra special thanks, however, were reserved for four people.
My “Summit Heroes” (sounds like people who might have climbed Everest!) were, in no particular order:
Mary Lawrence, the tireless ATMIA European Conference Director, who has far too much to do but does it all brilliantly.
Karina Zambrano, Chair of the European Board of the ATMIA and Chair of the Spanish National Committee, whose enthusiasm for her roles and the Summit itself helped to attract so much interest and so many attendees.
Debbie Smyth, nominally an International Adviser for ATMIA Europe, but whose wisdom and energy is injected into everything she does, including the work she did on the Summit.
Reena Kaur, the ATMIA Conference Director with responsibility for Exhibitions & Sponsorship, who sold out the Madrid Exhibition and related Sponsorships extremely quickly.
Once the Fab Four had taken their bows and Karina had said a few well chosen-words, I was delighted to welcome to the stage the CEO of ATMIA, Mike Lee.
Mike spoke with obvious enthusiasm about the most exciting project the ATMIA has ever lead: the Next Generation ATM Consortium. With nearly 200 organisations from around the globe already participating, the objective – of ensuring worldwide ATM software interoperability to foster transaction set Innovation – must surely be within reach. Expectations are huge and the excitement will increase as deliverables are achieved.
Next it was my privilege to introduce the Summit’s celebrity motivational Keynote Speaker, the amazing Chris Bertish. Chris is nothing short of a Wonder of the Waves. There is nothing he hasn’t done in water (!) BUT his most extraordinary claim to fame is that he has paddle-boarded 7500 Kilometres across the Atlantic, unsupported (other than by his board).
There is no doubting his amazing courage – or the huge amounts of cash his efforts have raised for worthy charities.
Chris received a Tsunami of applause from the rapt audience. I am sure they all wish him the Best of Bertish luck, when he next takes to the waves.
As CB paddled off into the sunset, it was time to welcome Concha Jimenez, the charismatic Director of Cash & Branches for Banco de Espana. Concha beautifully illustrated how important cash is for every Spaniard and the Spanish economy. It is clear that, however many bank branches close in Spain, the Banco de Espana takes very seriously their responsibility to ensure the Spanish Public always have convenient access to cash.
One amazing fact highlighted by Concha Jimenez is that there are over 800 mobile bank branches in Spain. This is an astonishing number and confirms the huge effort made in Spain to take cash to every citizen.
Concha Jimenez was followed by two more “big hitters”; Heike Worlen, of Bundesbank fame, and Henk Esselink, a rising star of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Both Heike and Henk spoke to the continuing consumer love affair with cash. Given that the ECB’s latest survey results revealed that 79% of Eurozone household purchases continue to be made using cash, the love affair seems set to continue forever.
The day continued with many more spell-binding presentations. Highlights for me were
* Manuela Restrepo of Caixabank demonstrating how bank digitalisation and ATMs can mesh together to ensure a better service for bank customers.
* Jaques Rosenzvaig, the MD of Tecban, explaining how the massive Brazilian ATM operator works tirelessly to improve customer service, whilst continuously enhancing the efficiency and profitability of their ATM estate. TecBan were the European ATMIA Overseas Member of the Year for 2018. Jaques’ presentation went a very long way to explaining why his company deserved such an accolade.
* Simon Lake, a Director of the UK Royal Mint, revealing how coins can sometimes replace higher denomination notes to improve the longevity and cost efficiency of cash as a whole. ATMIA Europe is keenly aware of the need for coins and notes to work in perfect harmony, to ensure cash remains a user-friendly and affordable payment choice. Simon’s sparkling presentation highlight some of the ways such goals can be achieved.
In truth, I could have picked any one of a dozen presentations as highlights of the first day of the Main Summit. All speakers are to be congratulated on their fine contributions to a brilliant day.
Presentations over for the day, speakers and audience alike adjourned to the Exhibition Hall, where they enjoyed cocktails and tapas, as they browsed the forty + superb booths, which showcased innovative products and services.
And then on to dinner and the wealth of night-life for which Madrid is rightly famed….
Day 2 kicked off with more great presentations. Just some of my personal highlights were
* Ross Clark, author of the brilliant book “The War on Cash”. Ross spoke eloquently on his subject and put forward a very compelling case that cash must be saved to ensure that everyone on our planet has a chance of enjoying financial inclusion.
* David Boromeo, Head Operating Officer for Consumer Banking at Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, had an awe-struck audience hanging on every word as he revealed how his bank is working in partnership with local communities around Australia to bring truly local financial services to towns with populations of as few as 700 inhabitants of all ages. There are now over 300 of these Community Branches, earning profits for the bank and, in equal measure, profits for every participating community, which are ploughed back in to improve the lives of all who live locally. IT IS A MODEL THAT SURELY DESERVES TO BE REPLICATED EVERYWHERE.
* A superb presentation on the digitalisation of BBVA by Jose Angel Fernandez Freire, the bank’s Head of Digital Transformation.
* A Cash Management Panel, moderated by Karina Zambrano, which allowed several Cash Management experts to give their views on the future of cash and, of course, their businesses. There were mixed views but the consensus was that the future would be brilliant, so long as everyone in the industry continues working to constantly improve and also ensures the message of the importance of payment choice for all is loudly broadcast to the public, governments, central banks and regulators around the planet. Quiet success is NOT an option.
* A presentation by Josep Escoriza of Credit Andorra, highlighting the importance of, in particular, coin recycling. Suzohapp fittingly introduced Josep’s presentation. As the company to have introduced the first public-facing coin recycling machine, they are clearly helping banks like Credit Andorra with vital innovations.
The Day – and Summit – concluded with a Final Word from me.
I, of course, thanked everyone who had made such a resoundingly successful Summit possible.
I have to say that I felt tremendous personal satisfaction at the outcome of the Summit. Twelve months of very hard work invested in creating the speaker programme and ensuring many banks attended had been rewarded by the unanimous view of all who participated that they had immensely enjoyed the event in every respect!
In closing, I reminded everyone that many presentations at the Summit had underlined the fact that cash is a vital and cost-effective payment choice, benefiting from continuous innovation and offering a package of advantages for the public that no alternative payment method gets close to matching.
I urged everyone present to return to their home countries – nearly 50 nations were represented at the event – and to take these key messages about cash back with them, to share with everyone they could in their own markets.
I am convinced that everyone who attended the Summit left fully motivated to do all that they could to support cash in their own countries – and to return to our next Summit in 2019 to share in more excitement about ATM and payment innovation!
Which single word would I use to describe the European ATM & Payments Innovation Summit 2018?