BNP PARIBAS

Colombia 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Jorge Valderrama, Country Head Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean of BNP Paribas

Jorge Valderrama
BIOGRAPHY

Jorge Valderrama is a lawyer from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana. He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector. He has skills in team building and management, with successful execution of strategic projects with high corporate impact. He has a special knowledge of investment and corporate banking. He has been the Country Head of BNP Paribas in Colombia since 2014.

What does Colombia represent for the bank as a whole?
It is an opportunity that explains BNP Paribas' growth since its inception in 1972, specifically in the last 10-12 years. The Pacific Alliance is also important. If we combine the Pacific Alliance's economies, the result is the world's seventh-largest economy, with 200 million people and a growing population. Our customers want to see and have financial providers that have a presence across countries that comprise the Pacific Alliance: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Chile.

What is your approach to the bank's different clients, ranging from entrepreneurs and institutions to SMEs and large companies?
As a bank, we have individual clients through insurance companies and our partners in our partner banks of Cadiz and retailers. In terms of banking activity, ours are mainly corporate and financial institutions. Moving forward, we want to work with multinational companies with global strategic clients of the bank that are entering the country. FDI in 2019, especially at the start, was diverse in terms of country of origin. Another 2019 development was Chinese investment, which is a trend that will continue.

Will China work with other financial institutions or will it bring its own financial institutions for assistance?
Both, for two reasons. China has strong banks, though depending on the industries it enters, it is better to have peso-linked financing; otherwise, it will either be too burdensome or too costly. But we also have strong local banks in Colombia with excellent services. The financing needs in Colombia are so large that there will be room for our colleagues to work, including unilateral entities, international banks, and local banks. A project like Metro Bogotá—considered to be Colombia's largest for the next five years—needs financing from several funding pools. 6