LUIS PEÑA KEGEL
We’ve been in Mexico since 2001, and we entered the market through the acquisition of Bital, a Mexican bank that was up for sale. HSBC already has a big presence in Mexico. In fact, one-third of all HSBC ATMs worldwide are located in Mexico, as well as 12% of all branches. If you consider that HSBC is the second largest bank in the world in terms of retail branches, you’ll appreciate that these are huge numbers.
Our branch network has decreased by 300 branches, from 1,400 to 1,100. We now have more sales, deposits, credit lines, and better efficiency. We closed some closet branches and opened larger branches instead.
The banking sector has a very bright future indeed. First of all, Mexico’s demographics are very good, because we have a very young population. Around 65% of Mexicans are under the age of 35. This provides a solid growth base with about a million marriages every year for the next 15 or 20 years.
NICOLE REICH DE POLIGNAC
SOLID AS A ROCK
I think the Mexican financial system is one of the most solid in the world, and it proved itself during the last financial crisis. The average capitalization rate for Mexican banks is above 16%.
Mexico is one of the most important markets we have. We have not carried out an acquisition, as we haven’t found the right strategic partner we need at the right price. We have, however, continued to invest organically and we have grown in Mexico in a very important way.
We have doubled our number of internet customers, but it is still a very small number. The actual number of internet customers is around 250,000. There is a lot of room to grow. People prefer to go to bank branches, believing them to be more secure.
JOSÉ MARÍA ZAS
We had double-digit growth in 2011. The main reason for this was that we focused on the brand itself. It is a great brand for internet security and customer service, and typically this is our main strength.
In Mexico, there is always an opportunity to increase coverage because it is a growing market. Today, there are a lot of opportunities to convert an informal economy into a formal economy, and accepting credit cards is part of this valuable process.
Our customers are changing their behavior and carrying our more transactions online. For us, this also means seeing what our customers’ needs are, and what they will be in the future, in order to meet them. The second front is to acquire new prospects in the new age.
© The Business Year