THE HUMAN TOUCH

Colombia 2015 | FINANCE | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Alejandro Blanco Toro, General Manager of Financreditos, on the background of the firm, securing new clients, and training human capital.

You have been in the market for 24 years. How were the companies that comprise Financreditos established?

My father, who had been Vice-President of Banco Popular and was a recognized player in the financial sector, founded Financreditos in 1991. He established a family company with another relative to provide services to existing clients. The focus during the first 10 years was on organizing the structure of the current company. I have held various positions within the company over the years, and sought to incorporate technology into the collection business, which allowed Financreditos to become an innovative company in the sector. We rely on technology to be both leaders and pioneers. Our technological developments include unique software called Sinfin, which is a financial information system; we are able to send text messages en mass, use localization software, and conduct database research to locate clients. When I took over the company after the sudden death of my father, my greatest challenge was to maintain the client base he had established. One of the most important clients was Comcel, today known as Claro, which had a vast and growing portfolio, hence requiring collection services. We achieved the first national indicator of effectiveness for Comcel among 50 collection agencies that it employed, even though we only provided services in Cali. After successfully carrying out the operation in Cali, we decided to expand nationally. Firstly we opened an operation in Bogotá and today we have seven agencies with operations in Medellín, Barranquilla, Pasto, Pereira, and Cartagena. During that time, Comcel represented 95% of our client base, but we have developed new client relations and reduced our dependence on Claro. We have clients in the banking sector, among utilities companies, and in the energy sector. We offer these companies a portfolio collection service on a national scale.

What is your strategy for securing new clients?

We work with multinationals such as Citibank, which was a client back when the company started, but which unfortunately decided to withdraw its account after my father died. After 14 years it placed a call for collection agencies and we received the highest rank according to several internal indicators provided by Citibank, receiving the account. One of the factors that gave us an advantage was that the bank highly regarded robust cyber-security. As we perform a specialized service, our strategy to acquire new customers is to invest in targeted scenarios such as events of the National Collection Association. The collection sector has evolved over the past few years, and clients are now looking for agencies that have a strong client base, robust technological support and highly qualified human labor. Financreditos can offer a highly specialized service and we rely on our track record to target new clients. We are also considered a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company as we operate call centers. It also helps that we are members of the Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Cobranza (COLCOB), and the National association for Business Process Outsourcing and Contact Centres (ACDECC.)

How is the company investing to train human capital?

We aim for innovation from the heads of each area of the company. They search for new business opportunities and perfect existing processes, as a result of which we become specialized. For example, we have highly trained engineers in the technology arena. Our strength as an SME is that our staff in all areas must support the entire operation, and as a result the company works as a unified whole. We also support staff with continued higher-learning.