Thursday, December 1, 2022

Financial inclusion, a way to combat poverty in Central America

In a region like Central America, where “an average of 50% of the population lives in poverty,” financial inclusion emerges as a tool to combat it and promote employment and prosperity, the general manager of Banco Ficohsa Panama told EFE. , Alejandro Chamorro.

“We are among the three fastest growing (banking entities) in the region,” which is “attributed, in part, to financial inclusion. We have put the client and the person at the center of the business,” said Chamorro, in the framework of the celebration of 50 years of the EFE Agency in Central America.

Placing the person at the center of the business means, for example, “making it easy for the customer to open an account” in a region where the levels of bank use are low, and accompanying them throughout the process.

Grupo Financiero Ficohsa, founded in Honduras in 1994, currently operates in that country, in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and the United States. It has a staff of 5,000 workers, of which 57% are women.

financial education

The bank has trained “more than 1.25 million people” in the region through its “Mis Finanzas” platform, a financial education project that guides “how to manage your finances, your personal expenses, your budgets.”

“As a bank, I think the ‘Mis Finanzas’ project is one of the biggest contributions we can make,” Chamorro said.

It is about achieving not only the “financial inclusion of vulnerable populations” through “solutions that make life easier for Central Americans”, but also key sectors for development and job creation such as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). ).

MSME project

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) “generate between 30% and 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and between 65% and 80% of employment in the Northern Triangle” of Central America, made up of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Chamorro stressed during the colloquium “Panama, axis of sustainable development in Central America”, organized by the EFE Agency in the Panamanian capital.

Ficohsa bank has “the Mipymes project, which is financing and education for small and medium-sized companies. We not only give you access to financing, but we teach you how to manage credit, finances and business. We have developed customized products for them”, affirmed the general manager.

Thus, this Central American bank “has created solutions for more than 21,000 SMEs, of which 50% are led by women.”

An environmental policy

“Additionally, we have implemented an environmental policy in which we not only take care of what we do, but also have a methodology to review how our clients behave with the environment. Part of the analysis that we do when it comes to getting a client is to see their behavior with the environment, ”she added.

The colloquium “Panama, axis of sustainable development in Central America”, was sponsored by the financial group Ficohsa and Coca Cola.

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