The new branches of Banco Popular Dominicano observe the international pattern, incorporating better self-service in addition to enterprise consulting
Author: Francisco Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking, Banco Popular Dominicano
August 2, 2021
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is rarely recognized to heap reward on nations, significantly creating nations. Yet in early May, the Bretton Woods establishment was throughout itself pouring accolades on the Dominican Republic. Following the conclusion of Article IV Consultation, the IMF group led by Esteban Vesperoni praised the nation for being considered one of the most “dynamic economies” in Latin America.
The plaudits from the IMF weren’t farfetched. For over a decade, the Dominican Republic has sustained a sturdy development averaging 5.eight p.c. The spectacular development, coupled by macroeconomic stability and a sound exterior place, to use IMF’s phrases, has resulted in notable enchancment in the lifestyle for a majority of the nation’s 11 million inhabitants. This is indeniable. In 2010, the nation’s per capita earnings was $11,000. By the finish of final yr, it was round $19,000. Despite the ravages of COVID-19, the Dominican Republic’s financial system has remained resilient and is projected to develop by 5.5 p.c this yr.
The financial services sector has been at the coronary heart of the nation’s stellar financial efficiency by supporting key sectors even throughout the pandemic. In this respect, Banco Popular Dominicano has emerged amongst banks which have been dedicated to supporting the financial system. With its broad publicity throughout sectors like tourism, building, agriculture, renewable power, well being, schooling, and SMEs amongst others, the financial institution has successfully performed a key position in sustaining the financial system’s dynamism significantly throughout the troublesome intervals.
In the course of, the financial institution has achieved vital development and as we speak stands as considered one of the main lenders in the Dominican Republic. In the financial yr ended 2020, Banco Popular Dominicano’s complete belongings stood at $9.7bn, a 16.5 p.c development from the earlier yr. During the yr, its internet mortgage portfolio grew by eight p.c to $5.9bn whereas complete deposits elevated by 14.four p.c.
Growth in all parameters has seen the financial institution rated extremely. In May, score company Fitch Ratings ratified the financial institution with the AA + (dom) score. This was awarded on the foundation that Banco Popular Dominicano is “a secure haven financial institution” significantly in occasions of systemic stress. The major purpose for that is the financial institution’s sound enterprise mannequin, steady profitability, wholesome portfolio high quality, good capitalisation and enough liquidity administration. These components are essential in guaranteeing the financial institution maintains its natural development going into the future.
Being a part of Grupo Popular, Banco Popular Dominicano boasts a wealthy historical past courting again over 5 many years. Over the years, the financial institution has managed to construct a formidable financial establishment anchored on innovation. Innovation has been a basic pillar that has characterised the financial institution’s service supply and development technique. For the financial institution, new applied sciences and digital transformation have enabled it to proceed creating new enterprise fashions, merchandise and services which have been central to its development.
For this to occur, Banco Popular Dominicano made a acutely aware choice to embed innovation as a part of its strategic plan. The end result has been years of serious investments in establishing a contemporary open technological structure that encompasses applied sciences resembling cloud computing, ‘machine studying’ and synthetic intelligence. It has additionally adopted the self-discipline of digital person expertise (DX). This makes it attainable to generate options to clients’ wants, hear to them and invite them to take part in the proofs of idea, prototypes and pilots prior to launching any services or products.
Building a development technique anchored on improvements and digital transformation has led to vital rewards for Banco Popular Dominicano
Technological investments have made Banco Popular Dominicano a pioneer in innovation. It was the first financial institution in the Dominican Republic to launch a web based banking platform again in 2001. A decade later in 2011, it was the first to introduce an app for cellular units. Other firsts embrace the introduction of bank cards, incorporation of chip playing cards for safer transactions, contactless card funds via near-field communication (NFC) know-how, digital wallets and QR code funds. With a large community of almost 200 branches and 1,121 multifunctional automated teller machines, Banco Popular Dominicano has adopted the ‘AGILE’ methodology that permits it to consistently launch new improvements and speed up its digital transformation course of. Though designed to guarantee the financial institution maintains its market management, the backside line of its aggressive innovation drive is buyer satisfaction.
Building a development technique anchored on innovation and digital transformation has led to vital rewards for Banco Popular Dominicano. Today, the financial institution is a reference level for financial innovation not solely in the Dominican Republic however throughout the wider western hemisphere. More importantly, the financial institution takes delight in serving over two million joyful clients due to its environment friendly and customer-centric mannequin of service supply.
For the financial institution, which has repeatedly been voted the greatest personal financial institution in the Dominican Republic, offering clients with platforms and channels that facilitate seamless transactions and interactions has been nothing wanting transformative in driving development. Even extra prodigious has been the buyer receptivity. This is as a result of the platforms and techniques are designed to make the lives of shoppers simpler and assist them accomplish their financial targets.
Today, greater than 87 p.c of Banco Popular Dominicano’s operations are digital.
Almost 1.four million clients are utilizing digital channels, a development of 33 p.c final yr. Annually, the financial institution receives in extra of 38 million visits to its Popularenlinea web site. The financial institution’s Popular app, the fundamental cellular software in the market, boasts over 700,000 customers, a 20 p.c improve in contrast to 2019. In 2020, the app accounted for 24 million transactions, a 34 p.c improve from the earlier yr.
Creating an setting the place clients can transact digitally has been a masterstroke for Banco Popular Dominicano in lots of elements. It has arguably proved most useful throughout the COVID-19 disruptions, a interval that has seen the use of digital channels improve considerably. In essence, the development has been a testomony to the clients’ belief in the financial institution’s technological infrastructure leading to a swift migration to digital platforms. The migration, on a broader perspective, has helped include the unfold of the pandemic. As the IMF noticed, the Dominican Republic has carried out nicely in containing COVID-19. By mid-May, the nation had fewer than 300,000 reported instances.
Digital platforms have been central in guaranteeing shoppers uninterrupted service throughout the pandemic. For Banco Popular Dominicano, they’re additionally essential for financial inclusion. By benefiting from the undeniable fact that 80 p.c of Dominicans personal a cell phone, with about 50 p.c of those being smartphones, the financial institution has simplified wallets and accounts. In impact, it has allowed the unbanked to enter the formal financial services sector simply and shortly. Additionally, via its community of subagents, the largest and most intensive in the nation, the financial institution has introduced services nearer to most distant communities.
Though a majority of shoppers are already transacting digitally, Banco Popular Dominicano desires extra clients on its digital platforms. This explains why the financial institution continues to introduce initiatives and incentives for even the most conservative shoppers, who could also be reluctant to migrate. The incentives embrace not charging commissions on fundamental transactions resembling transfers between accounts, funds to third events and funds for merchandise and services, amongst others. Clients even have the choice of selecting accounts and merchandise that don’t have any commissions for subtle merchandise and services.
Banco Popular Dominicano strongly believes that digital migration is an unstoppable prepare with extra shoppers experiencing the advantages of digital banking every single day. However, it doesn’t imply abandoning a path of pissed off traditionalist clients who solely know banking in its personalised kind in the enclave of bricks and mortar. While conservative clients have conventional channels at their disposal, the financial institution is consistently making enhancements and optimisations to maximise the service expertise. One method that the financial institution has managed to improve operational effectivity has been via funding in robotic course of automation.
In its digital transformation journey, Banco Popular Dominicano understands that buyer confidence in safety of techniques is paramount. Security cuts throughout two elements – a assure that accounts is not going to be compromised or breached, and system failures is not going to cripple the buyer’s capacity to perform transactions. It is for these causes that the financial institution has robust commitments on safety.
Secure and secure
Last yr, the financial institution continued to strengthen its data safety and cyber safety program incorporating Central Bank of the Dominican Republic rules. On high of this, it was proactive in the improvement of technical and procedural capacities for the monitoring, detection and administration of cyber safety incidents, making use of AI and machine studying applied sciences. During the yr, over 30,000 occasions have been monitored per second. Internally, the measures have put the financial institution at the forefront of sustaining integrity of shoppers’ transactions and knowledge. Externally, buyer confidence is boosted by a novel digital key or Popular Token assigned to them for the sole function of authenticating every operation. The financial institution has additionally arrange a digital communication channel via which shoppers can report ‘phishing and spoofing’ makes an attempt.
Despite reaching outstanding milestones on the digital entrance, Banco Popular Dominicano has no intention of slowing down or resting on its laurels. It goes with out saying that with 17 industrial banks, the high 5 of which command about 80 p.c of the market, the Dominican Republic’s banking business stays extremely aggressive. For this purpose, coupled with the want to preserve a development trajectory, the financial institution intends to proceed innovating and offering shoppers with new innovative options that fulfill their wants and make their expertise the greatest it may be.
Priorities for new options might be oriented in the direction of the intensive use of superior digital analytics to facilitate the creation of merchandise, an enough adoption of AI in banking services and persevering with to develop the media. The financial institution additionally plans to proceed alongside the highway of digital banking in selling buyer comfort. It stays a precedence for the financial institution to all the time hear to its clients and co-create with them. This will proceed to be the underlying precept of its improvements.