SWIFT & EASY

Colombia 2013 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Edgar Páez, President of SuperGIROS, on the history of the company, services provided, and the challenge from banks.

Edgar Páez
BIOGRAPHY
Edgar Páez is a certified public accountant, management, and marketing specialist, born in Armenia, one of the cities in Colombia’s coffee growing regions. He has excelled in several companies in the gaming and postal services sector.

What is the history of SuperGIROS and what kind of services are offered by the company?

In May 2006, a group of businessmen came together to create SuperGIROS, the main objective of which is domestic money transfer in the form of postal payment services. Its operations began in the departments of Nariño and Choco through gaming and gambling companies. Additionally, 19 offices were opened in Cali, Medellín, Pereira, Armenia, Cartago, Valledupar, Bogotá, Tunja, Sogamoso, Neiva, Monteria, Cartagena, Sincelejo, Santa Marta, Orito, Puerto Asis, Mocoa, and La Horminga. Given that the financial, logistics, and technology infrastructure of the gaming companies was very similar to what SuperGIROS required for billing purposes at the time, a strategic alliance with these companies was reached so that they could provide services—as business partners—through their sales points. This was very well received by the business community, and as new business partners were incorporated the number of offices increased from 68 by the end of 2006 to more than 7,500 by April 2013.

What is the profile of your customers?

While our services are used by people from all socioeconomic levels, our main customers are those belonging to levels one to three.

How does the technology allow a customer to transfer money through a wide network of services?

As is well known, SuperGIROS makes heavy use of technology to operate. Electronic transactions go through different networks using various technologies such as GPRS, radio frequency connections, wireless internet, and ADSL channels, among others. These networks are managed by datacenters and virtual private networks (VPNs) are being set up at online sales points to secure and encrypt data. It is in this way that electronic money is safely transferred all over the country.

“SuperGIROS makes heavy use of technology to operate."

How big is your network?

We currently have over 7,500 service points across the country. We are expanding this network every month and project over 8,000 service points by the end of 2013.

Who are your main competitors and what advantages do you have over them?

The domestic market for money transfer is a very competitive category, with Efecty, SIN, and RedService our major competitors, among others. We also have indirect competition from banks that provide a similar service. Since inception, SuperGIROS has been characterized by differentiated values in the marketplace such as extended working hours, sales point vicinity, Sunday-to-Sunday operations, our business partners' goodwill through which services are being provided, and so on. Also, the quality of service provided to our users is one of the fundamental pillars to differentiate ourselves in this category.

What trends have you seen recently in regional non-banking money services?

The trend is toward concentrating the number of deliveries not exceeding $200,000, which represent 81% of the operation. Those greater than $400,000 represent only 8% and $160,000 is the total average of deliveries.

In addition to your existing business, the company SuperENVÍOS has recently initiated operations for postal and courier services. What was the reason for creating this company and what is its target market?

First of all, it is a very nice opportunity to continue contributing to national development, especially in remote regions where this service is not yet available. It is also a way to take advantage of our business partners' resources so as to maximize their income. The target market is still levels one to three; people who already use money transfer services but do not have easy access to low-cost parcel services near their homes with nationwide coverage.

Latin America is chronically restricted by the banking system, but many banks have begun initiatives to bring people closer to the formal banking system. What is your strategy to remain relevant amid competition from banks?

We are currently implementing a customer service program through which we intend to train more than 12,000 sales point advisors so as to continue making this one of our strengths. In this way, we will prevent users from making long lines at both banks and other competitors' sales points. Furthermore, 80% of money transfers are in the lower range of the table in which our prices are still the lowest in the market, an advantage that can hardly be surpassed by banks in Colombia.

What challenges is SuperGIROS facing now and in the medium term?

As you mentioned, one of our greatest challenges today is the banks, as well as some economic measures made by the government that may not only affect category interests but also our users' pockets. In this sense, we can also point out that the competition analyzes SuperGIROS' movements and strategies in order to copy them and avoid being left behind.

SuperGIROS is involved in social development programs. What are the objectives of your contribution?

First of all, we aim to benefit people with fewer opportunities. It is so rewarding to observe children in Choco having fun by going to the cinema or watching successful sportsmen who, regardless of their competitive abilities, do not have the economic resources to train properly. We do a lot to ensure the future of Colombia without neglecting children's education, recreation, health, and capacity.

What is your vision for 2013?

In 2015, our aim is to be positioned as one of the three main national and international postal services providers, remaining in first place in domestic payments and consolidating our business partners as providers of the best customer service network.