The Business Year

The SME sector and technological innovation continue to be major initiatives for banks in Costa Rica.

Juan Carlos Corrales

General Manager, Banco Nacional

We have received the best bank in Costa Rica award for the last two years and expect to receive it for the third time in 2017. We have achieved systematic growth by improving the organization of our institution and making it stronger through financial solidity. We have focused on growing credit directed to different sectors of the country, generating development. This solidity is reflected on the distribution of credit in different activities; about 30% goes to housing and 25% is development banking for SMEs. Having a balance of risk and business has given us good results; in 2016, we had the best results in our history, not only in terms of profit, but also in efficiency and ROI. Our growth of profit against the previous year was almost 45%. At Banco Nacional, we have 2.5 million clients with our different products. Following our strategic plan launched in 2016, one of the main strategies has been to bring solidity to our financial institution. This allows us to experience considerable growth in our commercial division and greater financial solidity. In 2016, our credit growth was 12%, and in 2017 we expect to grow at a similar rate.

Geovanni GarRo

General Manager, Banco Popular

One of the bank’s missions is to protect workers. We have a pension operator, stock exchange, investment fund company, and, for the last six years, an insurance marketing agency. We belong to Costa Rica’s working population. Workers are represented through a national assembly of workers where the bank’s plans and strategies are defined. The working population is also represented at the national assembly via unions, community development associations, solidarity associations, and various professional associations. Around 40% of our loan portfolio is personal credit and seeks to satisfy workers’ consumption needs. The remaining 60%, which is the main activity of our bank, is oriented toward social and development banking, where we finance housing for the medium to low-income sector. On the business side, we focus on loans for micro enterprises and SMEs. 90% of our business clients are from the SME sector. The business that is growing rapidly is social and development banking, which are aligned with our mission. We dedicate 70% of our profits to grow our business while the other 30% is oriented on social plans. Those social programs are not free; they just have lower interest rates. We offer loans without requiring a premium-starting fee.

Federico Chavarrí­a

Business Manager, Federico Chavarrí­a

2016 was marked by international banks pulling out from the local market. This left us with many new opportunities in the market and was the reason why we grew significantly in 2016. In addition, smaller banks were having troubles, and Promérica took advantage of this situation as well. This year is different for Promérica and the country, and we will not grow at the same rate as 2016, though we will still be on a growth trajectory. Currently, we still operate in the same markets where we saw growth several years ago; we are still successful in the SME space. In addition, 25% of our assets are credit cards, which is a profitable business. In terms of liabilities, we have changed a little; private banking is a great source of funds. However, it is a little expensive, and we, thus, started to move on to institutional funding and DDA markets. We have invested a large sum of money on electronics solutions, such as internet banking and mobile banking, and are moving in that direction, as we want to bring down our costs in order to be in the larger corporations market.



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