Gabriel Motomura, partner and co-head of BTG Pactual Empresas, and Rogério Stallone, BTG Pactual corporate credit partner and co-head of BTG Empresas, discuss the best ways to serve SMEs.
Global Finance: What is your strategy for growing your SME portfolio?
Gabriel Motomura: While looking for references in SME banking four years ago at the Global Finance SME Awards, we noticed that the best global players addressed two main issues: gaining more customers and saving time from streamlined processes and reduced bureaucracy. These problems exist in Brazil and Latin America, but access to credit is an even bigger bottleneck for SMEs here.
Although most players focused on transactional and commercial checking account solutions, we decided to address access to credit for SMEs. Our main credit offerings are short-term working capital solutions and providing capital to our SME customers for supply chain financing and credit card receivables discounting. New lines of credit linked to cash-management products drive growth.
As a result, BTGP Empresas scaled quickly while being profitable from the start. Last year, BTG launched a fully digital business checking account and partnered with fintechs, ERPs [enterprise resource planning] and payment companies to build embedded financing solutions.
GF: How are you working with fintechs?
Rogério Stallone: We see fintechs as partners and distribution channels for our solutions. There is a strong synergy with fintechs looking to differentiate their offerings by adding BTGP lending solutions to their products. In addition, we know our customers better, as fintechs—upon customer approval—share their data with BTG, which helps us to cross-sell and upsell.
GF: How is BTGP Empresas operating like a startup?
Motomura: We deliver better and faster solutions by integrating business and technology teams so that our developers have a deeper understanding of the customer’s business and contribute to the final product’s success. We have a strong network of early-adopter customers that provide feedback at all stages of the product development process, from product prioritization, design, testing, and launch to continuous improvement.
GF: What new SME offerings does the bank have? How are they integrating technology into its products and services?
Stallone: Our most requested products are corporate credit cards and cash management solutions integrated into customer management systems. We created a seamless experience that also includes streamlined procedures. Our process to open a business checking account is 10 times faster than that in large retail banks. The benefit period for a line of credit for working capital can extend to three months in a traditional bank, but BTG Empresas can disburse credit on the same day.
Even though we are building a self-service digital experience, the human touch is key. BTGP Empresas also offers personalized service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
GF: How is BTGP Empresas working with SMEs within the agriculture sector?
Motomura: The agricultural sector represents 25% of Brazilian GDP and is considered an essential sector for BTG. We recently partnered with a startup that can estimate past yields and predict future crop performance through satellite data analysis. This technology helped us to scale our service offerings to small and midsize farmers, financing the cost of harvesting. BTG also offers agricultural insurance, warehousing and logistics solutions, and acts as the off-taker of the main commodities produced in Brazil.
GF: What are your plans for the SME market?
Stallone: We still have a long way to go to serve SMEs in Brazil and Latin America better. Our goal is to be one of the top five banks for SMEs.