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PANAMA - Finance

José Ramón

President, Unibank

Bio

José Ramón Mena’s background started 25 years ago in local and international banks. He founded Invertis Securities in 2012 through which he was of the founders of the Banco de Alimentos de Panamá. He is one of the main members of APEDE and is in the board of directors of Unibank.

"Unibank is a young financial group, and at just 12 years old, we have the opportunity to shape the institution the way we want to."
What is your strategy to combine personal services with the digital transformation the banking sector is undergoing?

Unibank is a young financial group, and at just 12 years old, we have the opportunity to shape the institution the way we want to. We want to be a close and friendly bank. Even though everything is increasingly digital nowadays, we need old-school banks, knowing the client, being close to them, and making clients feel valued. We want to be an important part of their commercial or corporate system as partners. We have created different business and service units to fulfill the client’s needs from a close and humble point of view. Regarding the economic recovery in Panama following the pandemic, growth has been significant whereby there are important opportunities for banks. We are present to support growing sectors and those that require our help, such as the agrobusiness and the sustainable energy sectors. After a strategic study the bank conducted in 2019, we set an objective of Unibank being an agile, solid, and digital bank. These three short words clearly express how we want to be—solid, agile, and digital. Technology is here to stay but not everything is going to be 100% digital. Long before the pandemic, we had already embarked on our digital journey. Unibank had six branches and since 2018 we have two. We are letting the client decide, whether he wants to go to the bank and receive the best personal treatment or to fully operate digitally 24/7 from anywhere. We hired a European consultant to help us set our path on the digital journey and discovered we wanted to become the first Panamanian neobank. Our goal is to become an example for banks in many aspects. First, is to be an agile bank offering a personalized service. Second, we want to be an exemplar of how to do things the right way. Unibank aims for solvency, high liquidity levels, and a trustworthy reputation for doing things right, regardless of being a Panamanian bank. Finally, this will help us to experience growth together with our clients, not just in Panama, but globally.

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