Global Finance discusses goals, strategy, and prospects with Banco Agrícola's CFO Ana Beatriz Marin Restrepo.
Global Finance (GF): What is Banco Agrícola's vision for its business in El Salvador?
Ana Beatriz Marin Restrepo: As part of Bancolombia Group, our aspiration is to be the leading financial group that sets trends, generates a superior experience for our clients, takes pride in its employees and generates value for its shareholders in a sustainable manner. We attain this through our focus on expanding the portfolio of products, services and channels that allow us to deepen our attention to segments in which we are not yet leaders, contribute to the bankerization of the country, promote digital transformation and design client-centric experiences, thus ensuring the preference and satisfaction of our customers that produces profitable and sustainable growth.
GF: What are the main challenges that the Salvadoran market poses for the bank?
Restrepo: In general, we see international and Central American region economic perspectives more positive than the previous year. The recent political agreements made regarding the financing of the government´s long-term debt, the national general budget and pension reform have generated an improvement in El Salvador´s credit rating, which is positive for the performance of the local economy. Recent changes in immigration policies in the United States bring new challenges which could have an impact on the local economy. However, we have a very robust financial system. With a positive performance trend in growth and profitability, Banco Agrícola will continue to support Salvadorans in achieving their dreams, participating not only in the economic sphere but as a manager of development, welfare and sustainability for communities and for the country.
GF: What opportunities is the bank focused on?
Restrepo: Banco Agrícola as a universal bank serves different customer segments with an integral portfolio of products and services. Our growth expectations are aligned with the economic growth projections of the country, with opportunities in the sectors of consumption, housing, industry, commerce and construction. Additionally, we are strengthening capacities such as deep knowledge of our customers, digital transformation, efficiency management and innovation, which allow us to maintain and consolidate our leadership position that characterizes us as the preferred bank of Salvadorans.
GF: How can Salvadoran banks remain profitable?
Restrepo: The Salvadoran financial system is solid and highly competitive, as the main player in that sector we could say that the key is to bet on profitable and sustainable growth in the long term as a result of the commitment to responsible sales, prudent risk policies, disciplined commercial management and operational excellence through efficient processes.