Margarita Henao

Margarita Henao

CEO, Daviplata
Andres Vasquez E.

Andres Vasquez E.

CEO, Nequi
Digital banking has the potential to be transformative in Colombia by extending low-cost financial services and promoting greater financial inclusion.

How has the bank transformed the Colombian economy?

MARGARITA HENAO Daviplata is the leading platform in Colombia for financial inclusion. It was born eight years ago when only 56% of the adult population had access to financial products. Now, 86% of Colombians have access to financial products, and 12.8 million people have access to the financial system through Daviplata. Our proposal is to break down the barriers of financial inclusion such as cost, geography, and location. Being creative in the use of technology is a key part of our approach. For example, Daviplata was first available via SIM cards in 2011. In 2016, we launched our app and started to overcome the different barriers for clients to use an app. One of the significant problems was access to the internet because of the high costs, and Daviplata spoke to the three biggest telcos in Colombia and started to cover that cost. Daviplata has also played a key role in the distribution of government pandemic subsidies, helping with over 20 million payments to people who need assistance. Daviplata has launched a new financial service for small business, My Business, that allows users to offer products and send payment links to other people, for example to sell their products. With that functionality, it is possible for others to pay from accounts in other banks.

ANDRES VASQUEZ E. Nequi started with the realization that future users will do banking differently. Bancolombia, prioritizing innovation, wanted to be part of the transformation of the banking industry. The company realized it needed to develop a solution that can help people have a better relationship with money, a tool that gives them the power to save and manage their money in a simple, straightforward way. The main priority of Nequi was creating a platform of easy access and with a familiar interface. The impact we have generated is amazing; as of mid-2021, Nequi has more than 6.2 million users and is growing at a rapid pace. We are acquiring about 350,000-400,000 users per month. The pandemic has accelerated the phenomenon of digital banking because there is a need to do transactions remotely. Additionally, Nequi grew rapidly because the platform was transparent and incurred low fees. We do not want to have maintenance fees and we want the customer to pay only for services they deem valuable. We started with no fees for maintenance, opening an account, withdrawing at ATMs, or transferring to other people—there are paid add-ons. Nequi allow users to have an account from which to interact with their money and with third parties easily.

How do you work to improve the Colombian financial system?

MH Our proposal is to create ecosystems and be a part of other ecosystems. We hope to be a part of or create new ecosystems where you can satisfy the different needs of customers. We have a big strategy, our open banking strategy, which has three parts: bank as a channel; bank as a service; and all our API systems. With bank as a channel, we hope to sell different financial products into Daviplata such as microinsurance, loans, and micro loans from Davivienda or other financial institutions. In the second part of our open strategy, we sell different financial products from Davivienda or other financial institutions. The third part is bank as a service. We started with Rappi two years ago. Metro de Medellín is another partner of Daviplata. We launched an app that is an important milestone to launch a worldwide innovation: it is possible to pay the metro ticket via QR code with Daviplata. We hope to integrate different citizen city services in that line.

AVE Nequi is tearing down the frictions associated with banking. We created a solution for people's payment needs by giving users the power to send money or open an account quickly and easily. Many other companies are doing similar things, but we differentiate ourselves by our relationships with users. We do not talk in the language that banks normally do; we are creating a more equal relationship with them. Our platform also promotes conversation between users. For example, during the pandemic small stores and some people are selling through social networks, WhatsApp, and other means, and Nequi allows them to not just offer their services but also collect payment and give confidence to users to pay in a simple and transparent way. Another thing that is important is creating an interface that resonates with users.

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