Banco del Pacífico has had one of the best performances in the sector. What drove this?
Since the beginning, Banco del Pacífico has been focused on providing access to financial services for every sector in order to boost the country's development. In addition, we focused on the use of technology for product development, which turned the bank into one of the most innovative in the country and region. We have sought to provide services throughout the country through agencies, tellers, virtual centers, ATMs, Tu Banco Banco Aquí points, and other centers that provide services to more than two million clients in Ecuador. Right now, Banco del Pacífico is one the largest banks in the Ecuadorian financial system in terms of profitability and solvency levels in the last years. In 2019, we issued nearly USD1.38 billion in credit for different sectors of the economy at the best possible rates and offered preferential conditions, including for the real estate and public housing sectors. Additionally, we have reached the historical figure of USD100 million in profits. Furthermore, we hit a 15.01% return on equity. These results are due to the specific care we have put into controlling expenses and the products the bank offers.
The Ecuadorian economy is moving toward a pro-market model. What is the importance of social responsibility for the bank?
We have focused our sustainability initiatives on understanding the needs of different interest groups, managing socio-environmental risks, and generating tangible value. This is done in order to promote the well-being of the community and the preservation of the environment, which will consequently ensure that the bank will continue to exist in the future. In terms of financial inclusion, we have made huge efforts because we are convinced that it is worth fighting for. Better education leads to improved living conditions of communities and improved decision-making through adding the responsibility of managing financial duties. As for the environment, we have different initiatives to diminish our carbon footprint with efficient alternatives, both innovative and sustainable, to create value and become a team that fully embodies the bank's values.
What role do the entrepreneurial credit lines and micro-companies play in the bank's operations?
Banco del Pacífico has developed solutions and sought allies to ensure better access to credit for every sector of the economy, including craftsmen and micro-entrepreneurs. A clear initiative that demonstrates this is the Bank of Opportunities Program, which, alongside the Municipality of Guayaquil and Ecuador's National Financial Corporation (CFN), has provided credit ranging from USD500-1,500 for a 36-month period at a 15% annual interest to more than 5,000 clients. Regarding education, we have realized the importance of social inclusion and thus created in 2016 Crédito Estudios Pacífico, a product that supports the professional careers of young people through education. In 2018, we provided those services to 10,394 students to the tune of USD41.3 million.
What factors will ensure the sustainability of the financial sector in Ecuador?
The financial system has showed a high-level of adaptability to a constantly changing environment. Therefore, sustainability in the short and medium term will depend on how well liquidity is managed, what new opportunities there are to generate funds domestically and abroad, and to channel economic resources in an orderly fashion to all the economy's sectors, thus triggering an economic social model. This model is the basis of creating a diverse economy that does exclusively depend on one sector.