Banco ProCredit Colombia
With an estimated population of more than 47 million in 2013, Colombia is the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico. Traditionally a rural society, movement to urban areas was very heavy in the mid-20th century, and Colombia is now one of the most urbanised countries in Latin America. The population of Bogotá has increased from just over 300,000 in 1938 to approximately 8 million today (source: National Department of Statistics – DANE, http://www.dane.gov.co/censo/files/presentaciones/capital_humano.pdf).
Colombia’s GDP has grown from less than USD 100 billion in 2000 to over USD 375 billion today, which translates into a GDP per capita of over USD 8,000 (source: Banco de la República, http://www.larepublica.co/sites/default/files/larepublica/andi.pdf, p. 7). The government has pursued an aggressive policy aimed at integration into the global markets, thereby promoting both economic and social development. Foreign trade is expanding, based on the country’s broad range of export goods, and growing confidence in the Colombian economy is attracting large amounts of foreign investment: an estimated USD 15 billion in 2012 (source: Banco de la República, http://www.larepublica.co/sites/default/files/larepublica/andi.pdf). Currently, inflation is at historically low levels, between 2 and 3% (source: Agencia de Noticias – Universidad Nacional, http://www.agenciadenoticias.unal.edu.co/nc/ndetalle/cat/video/pag/1/article/colombia-no-esta-blindada-ante-la-crisis-economica-mundial.html).
A timely monetary policy response by the authorities in 2008 and 2009 shielded the financial sector from many of the negative effects of the crisis. However, given Colombia’s increased integration into international markets, the global crisis did have a serious impact on the country’s real economy. The main effects of the global crisis have been a sharp drop in remittances received from Colombians working in the U.S. and other developed economies, the large-scale return of these migrant workers, and also a reduction of international co-operation in national projects.
Colombia’s financial sector is composed of 22 banks and 32 non-bank financial institutions including financial corporations, finance companies and financial cooperatives and numerous NGOs (source: http://www.superfinanciera.gov.co, credit institutions). The financial sector is currently growing fast, particularly in the consumer loan segment, although the level of financial intermediation is still relatively modest. Private sector lending to GDP is about 45% (source: DANE, http://www.dane.gov.co/index.php/cuentas-economicas/cuentas-trimestrales).
ProCredit began operations in Colombia in September 2007 under the name ProCredit Services Ltda. After obtaining a banking licence, the institution began offering the full range of deposit and loan products in June 2008 as Banco ProCredit Colombia S.A. In addition to ProCredit Holding, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is a shareholder in the bank with an 8% equity stake. As the “house bank for very small and small businesses”, Banco ProCredit Colombia fills a specific niche in the market left between the non-bank financial institutions which cater for the microfinance market and the established commercial banks which target larger SMEs, corporate clients and consumer borrowers. ProCredit’s niche is one of high development relevance with significant market potential.
As of end-September 2013 the bank had a gross loan portfolio of USD 106 million and operated a total of 17 branches in the cities of Medellín, Pereira, Cali and Cúcuta, as well as in the capital.
Banco ProCredit Colombia invests strongly in the personal and professional development of its staff, with the aim of building a team based on high professional standards and sound values that has the skills needed to serve clients in a responsible and committed way. One example of the bank’s investment in training is the creation of the Young Bankers Programme in 2011, which seeks to prepare university graduates and young professionals for a career in responsible banking.
Banco ProCredit is currently in the process of launching “green finance” services, a credit programme designed to promote investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy resources. In mid-2012 the bank signed the “Green Protocol”, an initiative aimed at uniting the efforts of the government and the financial sector to promote environmental responsibility and sustainable development. In all of its lending activities, the bank not only analyses the financial risk involved in the projects it finances, but also their impact on environmental and social conditions.