Pablo Hernández de Cos: How central banks can use digitalisation to better serve the public - the case of payments

Speech (virtual) by Mr Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of the Bank of Spain and Chair of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision at the Navigating the Digitalisation Transformation - Virtual OMFIF-Banque de France Seminar, 25 September 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
25 September 2020

Good morning,

I would like to start off by expressing my gratitude to both the OMFIF and the Banque de France for organising this very interesting and, certainly, timely event. Like many of my esteemed colleagues, I have been vocal about the growing relevance of emerging technologies for the financial system before. In fact, at the Banco de España we are closely monitoring trends in order to fully understand their potential implications and be ready to act quickly, where necessary.

Yet despite all its recent history and significance, it is now -in the light of the pandemic- that digitalisation has become even more critical and, possibly, also a catalyst for a tectonic shift across multiple dimensions. Products, services, business models, distribution channels and touch points all over the industry may, indeed, be closer today to an accelerated reshaping than was the case only a few months ago.

If anything, these difficult times have, in my view, proven what a valuable ally digitalisation can be to strengthen banks' resilience and secure the necessary flow of funds to society at large. This has been instrumental to mitigate some of the damage caused by the outbreak. More broadly, the virtualisation of our economic activity during the pandemic has further provided a necessary backstop for many businesses that used to rely solely on their physical presence. As such, digitalisation has once again proved to be not a goal in itself but rather a means to serve a much broader purpose, as it offers a novel toolkit to push out the boundaries of what has been possible in the past, allowing us to address well-known and often challenging problems in a convenient and much more effective manner.