Diego Fernando Prieto Rivera, president of Banco Caja Socialwas the host of the International Meeting of Retail Banking Leaders of the World Institute of Savings Banks and Retail Banks (WSBI)organization founded in 1924, with 88 members from 65 countries and in which the Colombian bank is the only representative.
What is the contribution of savings banks and retail banks to society?
Banco Caja Social, as a member of the WSBI, has been oriented, since its inception, to the provision of financial services with emphasis on serving popular sectors, micro-entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized enterprises, contributing to the development of the country and the economic and social progress of these people and their families.
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Why has financial education only been discussed in the recent past?
The promotion of pedagogy for financial well-being was one of the reasons that gave rise to the creation of Banco Caja Social as the Savings Bank of the Círculo de Obreros de San Francisco Javier 112 years ago. Currently, Banco Caja Social remains faithful to the legacy of Fundación Grupo Social, its owner, reiterating its commitment and vocation to serve popular markets. In addition, we continue to strengthen our financial well-being program through four axes: knowledge, tools, advice, benefits and challenges, aimed at helping people make better financial decisions. The Financial Superintendence awarded our program the Financial Education quality seal.
What were the main messages of the Cartagena meeting?
Experts from Germany, Spain, France, Honduras, India, Morocco, Peru, Colombia, among others, shared their perspectives on global trends in financial education, cybersecurity, and sustainable finance. To achieve this, there was also the participation of great allies such as Movistar Empresas and Minsait, who participated in the session on success stories in digitization and cybersecurity.
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The creation of a common language between entities inspired by the purpose of contributing to the development of popular markets becomes a sounding board to share reflections and face the challenges of humanity, offering a look from another perspective in which the service and the inclusion of the underprivileged is not simply a business opportunity or a fad, but the central axis of a centenary performance.
How was the result of the bank in 2022 and what projections are there for 2023?
2022 was a positive year, even in the midst of a beginning marked by the uncertainty that the country was experiencing. The bank was once again consolidated in first place in service quality according to the CIV (Customer Index Value) survey. Secondly, in terms of positioning, we continue to be among the three favorite brands for banks in Colombia. 500,000 new savings accounts were registered, of which close to 30% were digital accounts, currently reaching 750,000 digital customers. Similarly, 17,000 households were enabled to acquire housing, of which 7,000 benefited from the bank’s policy of expanding the French subsidy. And in microcredit close to $804,000 million were granted.
By 2023, we will consolidate our position in the mass and popular market and we set ourselves a growth of more than 200,000 clients, reaching close to 2.7 million active clients. The goal is to increase market share with a focus on mass deposits, consumer credit, microcredit and the housing line, as well as the consolidation of the sale of digital products.
Will they add to the rate drop?
Yes, but care must be taken that the reduction does not encourage consumption that leaves customers vulnerable. This moment is to save, tighten your belt for the situation that you are experiencing. In microcredit, where the rate limit is 58% and placements are usually seen at 46%, we, depending on the profiles, will bring the rate to 32.2%. In housing, our offer is a preferential rate of 14% for VIS and VIP in financed projects or sales quotas approved by the bank from January 2021 and February 2023 in undisbursed approved operations. For March and the following months, what is seen is a moderation in rates, expecting a decrease.
(‘Low interest can come for other types of credits’).
In cards, the exoneration of handling fees for use, reduced minimum payment that is deferred to 36 months and bring the rates on credit cards with quota up to $4 million at 25% EA
What challenges does portfolio deterioration pose?
A scenario of economic slowdown and high levels of inflation such as the ones the country is experiencing undoubtedly impact the behavior of the credit portfolio, not only in terms of growth but also in terms of delinquency. The foregoing of course in the context that we have repeatedly stated that Colombians generally have very good payment habits.
Within the previous framework, we continue to accompany clients by understanding the particular situation, so that later, within current regulations, we jointly structure flexible solutions that allow households and companies to continue meeting their obligations with the bank.
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What new products will you launch this year?
We work on enriching the digital proposal. The digital mortgage credit and digital payroll credit products will be launched. Both products are in the final testing stage. In addition, the twentieth edition of the Excellence Award is coming, which together with Anif seeks to recognize and exalt the work of micro and small companies in economic reactivation.