PILLAR OF STRENGTH

Costa Rica 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Federico Odio, Country Manager of BAC Credomatic, on the need to remain up to date, providing solutions for SMEs, and its recent investments in the country.

 Federico Odio
BIOGRAPHY
Federico Odio has been at BAC Credomatic for over 18 years. He was Chief Financial Officer from 2006-2015 and has been the Country Manager for Costa Rica since January 2016.

What is the importance of Costa Rica for the bank?

Costa Rica is our largest operation in Central America, and we are the largest private bank in the country. We pride ourselves on constantly trying to improve in technology and mobile banking. The profile of the group is a universal bank; hence, we do retail banking as well as SMEs and large corporate banking. For many years we have focused on developing electronic payment systems for large corporations as well as individuals. One of the main things we emphasize and that differentiates us is our focus on our technology. We recently re-launched our strategy. A great deal of our focus in the last few years has been on preparing the bank and institution for all the changes going on in the industry, including mobile technology and fintech.

What are the main products BAC offers?

One of the main solutions and products is related to every service connected to payment systems, which we are experts in. We do credit cards, mobile, computer, ATMs, and physical solutions as well. That is one of our greatest strengths around which we have developed our strategy. We also have traditional banking products such as current and savings accounts and time deposits, and do loans and credit solutions for large corporations, SMEs, and individuals. We also try to offer a more comprehensive solutions package. Thus, we also have brokerage solutions, provide insurance products, and have a pension and mutual funds. Our objective is to provide a full solution for personal banking, SMEs, and larger corporations.

In what ways is BAC helping the SME sector?

We aspire to provide full solutions for this sector. We also do some things differently from other banks. We are one of the operators for Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo (SBM), to which we devote a lot of resources. We have over USD75 million in loans to SMEs through that program and almost 3,000 beneficiaries, which respond to different strategies in the payment chain of our clients. This is one example of things we have done differently for SMEs and is something we plan to continue doing. We also have other products and solutions for SMEs, especially when they are in the value chain of different industries and products we operate in. It is a strategy that is fully integrated, not fragmented. SMEs are a large segment. They are an important part of the population and economy; therefore, we want to support them.

What are some of the recent investments the bank has made in Costa Rica?

This is a large bank in Costa Rica with around USD5 billion in assets. Therefore, our investment plan is very significant every year. We have done a great deal of investment in technology. Recently we had a re-launching of our new brand, BAC Credomatic. We have been investing to change all of the branding online and offline. It is important that we are prepared for the technological wave that is coming in mobile services. As such, we are exploring different trends such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and digital workforce projects, and we have an agenda for each of these in the bank. We rebranded the bank because we are in constant evolution.

What are the goals for BAC Credomatic in 2018?

The goals are to continue advancing as leaders in electronic payment solutions. Another is to continue projecting our financial strength. Hopefully we will be able to continue this growth into 2018. We should focus on sustainability, one of the pillars of our strategy. We have different things going for us there, such as a focus on financial education. We have worked with governments on this topic and have a program that is part of the high school curricula. It has been in place for 10 years now and matured into something important to the financial system.