Thursday, June 1, 2023

Bank sub-agents: Banreservas and Banco Popular with 77.8% of those registered

The Superintendency of Banks (SB) defines the bank subagents (SAB) as natural or legal persons that carry out commercial activities, and that in that capacity are hired by financial intermediation entities to carry out operations, in their name and on their behalf, and provide the financial services established in the Bank Subagent Regulations.

According to the Annual Report of Banking Subagents, prepared by the SB, in practice they are establishments, such as grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, commercial establishments, among others, that support financial inclusion and bankarization of the population, extending services throughout the national territory, especially in those regions with low penetration of Bank branches.

The registry of bank subagents has been increasing since they were launched in 2014, although those that remain in operation have not. In 2021, for example, there were 5,011 registered and 2,016 active, that is, 40%. In the last two 16 months they have more than doubled, since to date there are 13,704, which means an absolute growth of 8,693, for 173.5%.

With 10,671, the banks Popular (6,677) and Bookings (3,994) accumulate 77.84% of the registered subagents, which total 13,704 throughout the country. The third financial institution with the most registered SABs is Scotiabank, which has 990, equivalent to 7.2%, followed by BHD with 626, for 4.6%.

Despite the fact that the operational SAB establishments reached their peak in 2017 and have presented a constant decrease in the following years, the number of transactions, as well as the amount traded, have remained constantly growing, registering a total of 15 million operations by the year 2021, which indicates that its use has continued to grow despite the decrease in the number of operational SAB establishments.

He points out that this could suggest that economies of scale and scope (higher levels of efficiency and depth of use) are taken advantage of. He also suggests that operational sub-agents build trust levels from the public. By the year 2021, a total of 2,016 operational banking subagent establishments operated, with a high concentration in the Metropolitan region (755 SAB) and in the North region (661 SAB) and a lower concentration in the South (332 SAB) and East (268 SAT).


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