SMART WALLETS

Colombia 2019 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Scotiabank Colpatria has been growing by leaps and bounds, acquiring Citi's operations in Colombia and offering a customer-centered service to clients.

Jaime Alberto Upegui
BIOGRAPHY
Jaime Alberto Upegui earned his legal degree from Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and with specialization studies in finance and financial law. He has 25 years of experience in the financial sector in Latin America in companies such as Banco Colpatria and Citibank. He was President of the Consumer Banking branch and Vice President of Citibank Colombia. As President of Banco Colpatria, he will keep focus on clients by leading the digital transformation strategy of the bank and its active participation in the countries of the Pacific Alliance, as part of the multinational financial group Scotiabank.

In recent years, Scotiabank has invested significantly in Latin America. How does Colombia feature in the regions for the bank?
Scotiabank has as a strategic priority of investment in the countries within the Pacific Alliance. The strategic goal is to be an important bank in each of the countries that are part of that pact. Also, we have an open innovation strategy in which we have relations with fintechs to improve our innovation process and have some partners to do that. We have a focus on the technological investment and thus we have digital factories in Colombia and each of the capitals of the Pacific Alliance. We already have 280 people working on that having commenced two years ago. In addition, we have created a service hub in Colombia to support worldwide services like the call center.

You acquired Citi's operations in Colombia. How has that affected your customer portfolio?
That was an important acquisition because Citi has affluent clients. Besides, we use and synergize our capabilities from Colpatria to increase customer centricity, one of the characteristics that differentiated Citi from its competitors. Hence, our goal is to synergize and maximize on all the capabilities we acquired.

What ratio of your portfolio are corporate clients?
They represent a third of our customers right now. The intention is to continue leveraging all the capabilities that Scotiabank has worldwide to increase our wallet share among those customers. We are a significant player in this area. We built all the capabilities to integrally serve such customers, not only in lending, but also with cash management products and the entire portfolio.

What is your organic growth strategy to identify new customers in Colombia?
We have a value-added offer thanks to Colpatria and Scotiabank. We renamed the brand Scotiabank Colpatria. This merges capabilities from both sides and allows us to provide value-added services to our clients.

What is the need for an integrated banking service in Colombia?
Our main priority is to invest in all technological needs to support this integral offer. We are leveraging the size of our Canadian book to serve large clients in the country. We are investing in technology to improve our digital services and platform.

What sectors offer the best opportunities for Colpatria?
We have many clients across a diversity of sectors on the corporate side. We are well received in the power and energy sector, with companies like ISA and Ecopetrol. And for other large Colombian local companies keen to grow in the region, we are an excellent partner.

What can we expect of the company in the near future?
We expect to continue growing in the country. We are the fifth bank locally by market share, and we expect to reach a 10% market share next year. Once the acquisition of Citi is completely implemented, we will evaluate the possible purchase of another company. We are targeting to be a 100% digital bank for 2020. For that reason, we will continue in our strategy to improve the customer experience in our digital channels and in our offices. It is also worthy to highlight that we are offering products with no fee. We want to have a more inclusive and democratic banking system in the country. With this type of products, we expect to dynamize the Colombian economy by including people in the system and to expand our costumer's portfolio in the retail market.