Escotet: “The banking system progresses towards turning into a social development agent”
In a conference that gathered several global bankarization leaders, the President of the Venezuelan Banking Association (ABV) highlighted the global tendency of the financial system of fostering a more open, fair and inclusive society
Caracas 28/10/2010 ABV. “The diffusion of the bank services is today the best known path for including more and more people to a productive economy.”
With these words the president of the Venezuelan Banking Association (ABV), Juan Carlos Escotet Rodríguez, opened the seminar Financial Inclusion and Social Development, new roads for offering the banking services to everyone, convened by this organization in Caracas on October 28.
“Getting more and more people entering a system that offer modern financial and banking services; fighting informality; forging citizenship through bankarization; offering access to technologies that improve the quality of life of all the system users and, adding all this, helping the construction of a society in which everybody has equal growing and prospering opportunities, are the results that many of us expect.” expressed the association leader during the opening lecture.
In this event, the first carried out in Venezuela completely devoted to the financial inclusion theme, took part major international figures, especially invited to expose their experiences related to bankarization, mass spreading of financial services, cellular banking, no-bank agents and payment domiciliation, among other topics.
Roberto Barros Barreto, from La Caixa of Brasil; Juan Buchenau, from the World Bank; Brian Richardson, founding director of South Africa’s Wizzit Bank; Arturo Johnson Pastor, from Banco de Crédito del Perú; Gerson Gomes Da Costa, from Bradesco, Brasil; and Carlos Humanes, from americaeconomica.com, integrated the expert panel.
Before giving way to the lectures, Juan Carlos Escotet remarked that the policy of including in the banking systems growing sectors of the population, most of them belonging to the lest favored strata, constitutes “the sine qua non condition for the banks in order to achieve a more profound and widespread insertion in society.”
Change of age
“We are in the way to a banking system that opens its doors, gets up from their desks and puts off their ties, in order to look for people, families and communities that even today, in the 21st century, still don’t have a registered bank account.” said Escotet Rodríguez when illustrating the paradigm change that centered the subject of the seminar.
In accordance with the ABV President’s speech, the enlargement of markets and the implied cost reductions; new technologies that allow to reach faster and efficiently those people that are outside the banking networks; the penetration of the Internet and the possibility of using electronic channels in order to reach to more people; and electronic banking as a means for accomplishing the social policies of governments, are some of the promising opportunities dealt with in the conference.
These issues, stated the entrepreneurial leader, are particularly significant in the host country: “The present goal in Venezuela is a banking system that can grow towards a larger market, and is capable of developing attractive products for its potential members. A bank with a mentality focused on policies, projects and practices of inclusion shall not be alone in the future, inside or outside Venezuela.”
An example of this are the opportunities brought by the no-bank agents. “These networks of small businesses and shopkeepers, who are present everywhere, who can be trained in order to offer basic financial services, are the key factor of an endeavor that could, in the case of Venezuela, enable to integrate millions of people in a very short time.”
New technologies, on the other part, draw an increasingly promising outlook. Escotet Rodríguez mentioned, for example, the replacement of cheques and cash for the management of resources through electronic means: “As everyone here knows, and the boom in fighting capital legitimation systems is all about that, the main users of cash are precisely the biggest law offenders. Those who laundry money and counterfeit it; those who trade drugs and arms; those who make up gangs with the aim of delinquency.”
To this should be added the impact of mobile or cellular banking, which allows making transfers and using services in real time, where distance or accessibility to the client location represents to difficulty. “Mobile banking” Escotet Rodríguez said helps solving not only operative features, as the cost and risk of transporting cash in a large country, but also would make possible that all participants in the system: State banks, private banks and auditing bodies, achieve huge advances at reasonable costs and in short time compared to what would be required in order to join people into the banking system through conventional mechanisms.
As a colophon, the President of the ABV highlighted that the Financial Inclusion Seminar “inscribes in a world transformation, which is the shift from traditional institutions to new ones that, besides fulfilling their customary programs, guidelines and duties, move towards a self-vision that transforms them into social development agents, elements that favor a more open, fair and inclusive society.”