The Business Year

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Cooperatives continue to provide financial education to Costa Ricans and develop key tools for various sectors, ensuring that the country continues to experience adequate economic movement.

Jhonny Saborí­o

General Manager, Coopecaja

Coopecaja offers financial resources to employees of the public sector and their families, up to the second degree of relations. We have specialized in credits and savings; in Costa Rica, the majority of the population requests financial institutions for credits, but we specialize in financial solutions, allowing us to provide financial education to people so they can generate savings. This allows them to better manage their own budget and satisfy their own needs. Compared to other financial institutions, cooperatives are different because every person who uses our products and services is also a partial owner of the company. Coopecaja is worth around USD300 million, and any person who gives us USD20 a month owns a stake in Coopecaja, which has an annual profitability of 16-17%. Coopecaja’s growth has to do with its business model, which focuses on reducing debt and providing people with products and services that allow them to improve their quality of life. Teaching people how to properly use credit cards is our challenge as well as our differentiating factor. Under our strategic digital transformation plan, we want to ensure our products and services have zero paperwork. At the same time, it is vital to ensure that access to our platforms is efficient and friendly. We are one of the financial institutions with fewer locations than the industry average, because it is better to provide access through our platforms. To that end, Coopecaja is digitalizing its locations.

Julio Rojas

General Manager, Coopesuración

The cooperative model is an exceptional model for the development of groups of people as it allows them to work. Cooperativism is one of the important parts of Costa Rica’s economy, with the opportunity to employ approximately 1 million people. The cooperative movement has been the force and engine behind several Costa Rican market niches. One of the important pillars of Coopersuperación’s growth has been transparency; being completely transparent instills motivation. The other part of the success was that we managed to obtain the resources. After I assumed my position, I managed to sign a six-year contract in 2016 with an automatic renewal clause for another six years. Our focus on growth and employing, training, and transforming people also played a key role in our success. In general, it takes around six months to train a person, because not only do we give customer service training, we teach trainees about cooperatives, motivation, soft skills, and computation. In 2013, we had a contract for 60,000 calls, and the first initiative I took was to negotiate with the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE) to get 80,000 calls. Today we have a contract of 120,000 calls per month, and in 2019, we aim to push that to 140,000 calls. Also, in 2019, we will expand to Guápiles and establish our headquarters in San Jose. Keeping the recent developments in mind, we will have several new clients by end-2019.

Óscar Alvarado Bogantes

General Manager, Óscar Alvarado Bogantes

Grupo Mutual has been in the sector for 45 years and from the start, its strategy has been to work with a personalized service. Our target segment is families from low and medium-income brackets. Furthermore, customer service is vital and with that in mind, we have also adapted to our new younger clients with improvements to our mobile and digital platforms. Our main product is low-income housing; we are specialists in housing, especially those under USD100,000. We are also specialists in housing subsidies; in fact, we are leaders in that segment. Developers want to work with us because we are efficient with transactions, and we have our own procedures. We analyze the viability of projects from various perspectives, such as the capacity of the developer, both economically and experience wise, as well as the viability of the project. If the project is subsidized, the developer should be evaluated as well. In that sense, we work with developers that uphold standards and regulations. In terms of corporate social responsibility initiatives, Grupo Mutual is the founding partner of Banco de Alimentos, which is dedicated to providing food for those in need. Moreover, we have environmental volunteers who clean rivers and beaches and plant trees. We also offer training in financial education for around 5,000 people per year. We also focus on gender equality. Half of the 900 executives in the company are female and in management, the ratio is 45%.



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