Back to the Future™ – the return to in-person courses

Melanie Armbruster ©Tim Wegner
Melanie Armbruster

I am very pleased to be here and to not have to speak to a camera anymore.” Melanie Armbruster from the Directorate General Banking and Financial Supervision makes no secret of the fact that she has been looking forward to restarting face-to-face courses. Her talk on the topic of own funds kicks off the one-week course “Introduction to the Basel Framework”.

Long-term planning with uncertainties

Course Impressions ©Tim Wegner
Course Impressions
The decision to offer an in-person course in spring 2022 – if possible – was taken in November 2021. Participants from all over the world with an interest in the course were able to sign up from January. Since it was the only in-person course offered by the CIC thus far, a number of people registered without being aware of this fact. As a result, some were surprised when they discovered that the course was actually scheduled to take place in Frankfurt and withdrew their applications. In the end, a total of 12 participants from other central banks made their way to Frankfurt to attend.

Networking and a high level of attention – advantages of in-person courses

Group photo ©Tim Wegner
Group photo
While many providers of international courses and seminars are currently still considering whether they wish to return to offering in-person courses at all, the CIC has gone ahead with its range of courses. The advantages of an on-site course compared with an online one became apparent at the beginning of the seminar week. On the very first day, for instance, there was already a lively exchange of views among the participants. Alongside common problems in banking supervision, participants from countries such as Mauritania, Nepal, Moldova and Uruguay discussed the situation there. At the initiative of the participants, a WhatsApp group was created to foster dialogue, which was still being used after the course had ended – even if only to share impressions of the trip to Frankfurt or the outing to Heidelberg.

Another key positive aspect of in-person events is that there is no time difference. For example, at last year’s online Basel III event, some participants had to dial into the course at four in the morning or had to stay online until midnight local time.

Colleagues from the Directorate General Banking and Financial Supervision were also largely willing to present in person and had already agreed to do so well in advance. In the end, a total of seven colleagues came to present and exchange ideas on site and only the speaker on the topic of credit risk joined in via Webex – thus also making this a successful premiere of a hybrid event.

Two-track future planning

In-person courses will also continue to play a role in the CIC in future – the three-day “IT supervision in banks” course will be held in July, for example. At the same time, it makes sense for shorter seminars, in particular, to remain online. The aim is to have a mix of online and face-to-face courses. Ultimately, our guests will decide how the CIC’s range of courses will look in the future. The participant from Uruguay said she would definitely return. She was thoroughly impressed by the course and recommended us internally at her institution. This proved a success: several of her colleagues have already expressed interest in the “IT supervision in banks” course. Marcus Haas is looking forward to returning to in-person courses in the second half of the year, too. Let us hope that coronavirus does not thwart this plan again in the autumn.

The range of topics covered by our international central banking courses in the second half of 2022 is once again very diverse – please visit our website for more details. When registering, please make sure to check whether you are applying for an in-person or an online course. If you are interested in a central banking topic that we do not yet offer as a course, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Text: Marcus Haas

Photos: Tim Wegner