Bishkek International Financial Forum 2023 (BIFF-2023) was held on May 25, 2023

The annual Bishkek International Financial Forum (BIFF) 2023 organized by the Union of Banks of Kyrgyzstan was held in Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek International Financial Forum was held for the eighth time. The theme of the forum this year was: "Technologies. Innovations. Sustainable Development", which aroused keen interest among participants. Moreover, during the discussions it was repeatedly noted that at the moment, all three of its components are ineffective without each other, and their development should be approached jointly. All speakers noted the key importance of digitalization in all existing financial and life aspects today, as well as the need to emphasize the development of the service line and customer service.

BIFF is a platform for professional communication, partnership and growth for players in the financial sector. This year the forum focused on innovative trends, sustainable development, and offered its participants to discuss, share opinions and develop new solutions rather than just accumulate knowledge.

Zair Chokoyev, Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic.

«The main trend for us today should be the realization that we are already living in the 4th industrial revolution, where the main resource is data. If natural resources were valued in the past, now we have moved to new realities: today it is data processing and transmission that is the focus of the efforts of both businesses and government agencies. Digital technologies and artificial intelligence in general present incredible opportunities today. However, 3.9 billion people on Earth still do not have access to the Internet. Therefore, at this stage, humanity is obliged to create the rules by which the processes of this revolution will take place. As for the banking sector, of course, today it is important to expand the palette of digital tools, improve their usability for customers and security. In addition, as a country we will have to ensure sustainable energy supply - as energy goes hand in hand with digitalization - and environmental preservation. This is where we see the main trends and challenges for the industry today».

Kristina Dorosh, Vice President, Regional Manager of Visa in Central Asia and Azerbaijan.

«Kyrgyzstan is at the stage of active development of digital technologies. Visa was at the origins of the cashless payments industry in the country and now, with the support of a wide range of our partners, including banks, mobile operators, fintech companies and the regulator, we continue to invest in the development of the country. In recent years, Kyrgyz people have become even more active in using digital payment methods. People have become accustomed to paying for purchases with smartphones and other gadgets, and banks are increasingly focusing on the development and implementation of digital technologies».

Alexander Vorontsov, Regional Director of CSI Processig in Central Asia.

«CSI is a new player in the market of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, and we deliberately chose the forum format to present our processing center. We see how actively the financial services market in Kyrgyzstan is developing and how sensitive it is to technological solutions. Today, solutions that perform tasks «in one touch» and comply with the principle of mobile only, are trending. At the same time, the bank card (whether plastic or digital) remains at the core of all processes and communications in the payments landscape. With payments becoming instantaneous, the time2market period is crucial, and the stability of the payment infrastructure affects the overall stability of the bank's business - the implementation, support and development of promising technologies requires deep specific competencies. CSI team has accumulated specialists with the most relevant competencies for the payment market and today is ready to offer its experience, knowledge and infrastructure capacities to partners in Kyrgyzstan and other CA countries - we thank BIFF2023 for professional networking platform and eventful program».

Evgeny Zaika, Director for Business Development in the Financial Sector, VisionLabs.

«VisionLabs is one of the world leaders in the field of creating products based on computer vision. The company has implemented more than 500 projects in 37 countries, we accumulate best practices in technologies and share expertise with our partners. For us BIFF2023 is an opportunity to share this experience with our target audience. During the forum, we talked about trends in the application of computer vision in the financial sector. Today these are remote identification, Face ID payment and new formats of ATM services. It is already possible to make purchases in supermarkets, withdraw cash from an ATM or become a bank customer without leaving home using facial biometrics. All this allows customers to free up their irreplaceable resource - time. Recognizing a person's body position and clothing to monitor abnormal situations and build heat maps is also becoming a trend».

Denis Yudin, Deputy Director for Development, Colvir Software Solutions.

Over the past few years, the banking industry of Kyrgyzstan has made a serious leap forward, despite COVID and other global events. Firstly, the industry's desire for transformation - in the everyday work of bankers and the government - served as a springboard for development. Secondly, external circumstances have been favourable for the country's financial sector. We would like the new opportunities to be utilized effectively. For this purpose banks need such qualities as reliability and convenience of interaction. There are no problems with the former - all banks are developing stably and profitably. At the same time, according to user experience, some of them have already taken the lead, and this is evident from the client base that has reached out to them. Large and medium-sized banks should also pick up this trend - to fight for each client, to create a healthy competitive environment that will ensure growth for Kyrgyzstan, each citizen and entrepreneur. As an IT company, our main goal is to support such development. Our mission is to give banks the opportunity to realize all business ideas, primarily digital ideas that they have now, to provide them with a quick time2market and thus win the battle for customers, which is unfolding right before our eyes»

Arkady Prokudin, Commercial Director at Compliance Control.

«The Kyrgyz Republic is on its way to improving the cyber security of the financial industry and a broad-based discussion of this issue is, in my opinion, timely and necessary. The most difficult challenge in this area is to match the cost of security with the potential losses from hacker incidents. It is not always possible to calculate ROI (Return of Investment) from cybersecurity costs if a company has not previously suffered losses from cyber incidents and no competitors share similar cases. Investments in cybersecurity, as in IT, are a payment for peace of mind and the opportunity to develop, enter new niches, and reach new heights without fear of loss. Cybersecurity is a supportive parent, allowing the child to take risks while remaining protected. For the international Compliance Control team with over 10 years of experience, it is always a great honour and responsibility to act as such a parent or trusted advisor for major players of the financial market both in Kyrgyzstan and in the world».

Hannes Mac Nulty, Manager at Green Industry Platform.

«I would say that now in the Central Asian region the issue of sustainable finance has ceased to exist only in words and has really moved to practical implementation. Of course, in this regard, I would like to mention our workshop organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Kyrgyzstan as part of BIFF2023. We learnt not only what "green business" is and how sustainable finance can support us, but also what it will actually finance - where the investments will go. I think this is very important from a practical point of view, because sustainable finance is a transition to "green business", and first you have to understand its basics. The challenge for the whole sector now is to thoroughly understand the practical needs of companies to provide sustainable finance. In addition, we need to build a business case, which means there must be demand from customers reflecting their desire to move to green standards. That is when we can move to sustainable financing of those needs and demand. And this is all very interesting - this endeavour, in fact, to create a new economic explosion».