Banco Pichincha, which traditionally competed in sectors such as educational and vehicle loans, is now focusing on other services such as savings accounts with a 10% return.
The lender that is in the midst of a restructuring of services, in order to offset loss levels, bets on figures based on deposits beyond traditional credit. For this reason, its president, Germán Rodríguez Perdomo, explained that the services are focused on times in which “we are coming from a wave of high levels of indebtedness.”
How did you see the closing of the operation in March?
The results for the first quarter are in line with expectations, a level of losses of $31.6 billion, but it is due to a process that we started more than a year ago, rather than transformation. We are talking about a reinvention of the bank’s operation in Colombia. I had a history of losses that adds up to five years, and the reason for my admission is to seek to turn around that reality that the bank has. In that first quarter, the results are in line with what we expected and it is something that affected others in the sector.
How did the overall credit slowdown in the system feel to your portfolio?
As the bank’s own decision to reinvent itself, we halted credit operations last year. We had to restructure the way we operated in our approach to risk, to clients, to sales.
The country is seeing an impact not only on the portfolio but also on credit risk, from having been highly aggressive in placements. In order to have a profitable activity, the bank had to rethink how customers were served, looking at profiles, models and making it more secure. And having, above all, closer advice, to a large extent the financial sector has pushed in the placement of credit in recent years and this has led to very high household indebtedness, all-time highs and that is not positive for development .
So people are more cautious when borrowing?
Borrowing capacities are lower, after that strong level of loans people’s capacity is lower. Clearly that limits growth. Also, the fees are higher so it is more expensive to do so.
In terms of the dynamics of the sector, I would like to delve into deposits, bankers focus on the portfolio, but deposits are fundamental and we have a tremendous challenge. We have a task in which savings truly grow, the developing economy the way it grows is not with credit, the healthiest way is with savings, and savings that are invested productively.
At what level of provisioning have you had to adjust the portfolio?
In 2022 the portfolio fell 4%, we have been with increasing activity in new niches, advisory models, but in balances keeping them stable.
For some entities, the fact of having less placement also affected their non-performing portfolio. Did this also affect you?
Last year, all of us in banking knew that it was going to be a year of credit risk. We endowed the portfolio with important provisions that affected the income statement. This year we have seen less impact from that effort last year. But the recovery capacity of clients once they go into default is becoming more complicated.
How much is the overdue portfolio?
We are at levels of 7.80%, high but that has been affected by the credit activity that we have carried out.
So they are stricter to generate new credits?
It also has a declining behavior, not only due to sectoral dynamics but also due to the process of the bank’s organization, it has stopped marketing certain products where we had significant activity. We have been recognized for educational or vehicle lines, but these are lines that the bank no longer sells and has focused on issues of payroll credit, an important position, consumer and business credit.
So the deposits are growing?
Yes, and we have given weight to natural person deposits, so far this year they have risen by 7% and it is a key indicator in savings and CDT accounts. Now even more digital. It is impressive how with products like Pibank, the growth potential is tremendous. Today our direct banking channel captures more deposits than the entire bank network.
How is the profitability in Pibank?
The rates will always change today in the account we remunerate 10% EA and returning 4 X 1,000 of all the money that enters without charging any commissions. It is a savings account. We will maintain that rate for the rest of the year, but later with lower rates it will have to be adjusted. What is the commitment? Always have a competitive rate, so that when doing it at the rate levels it is clear. That is why since the end of last year we have had a good level.
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