Claudia Herrera García of Banco de Chile describes how the bank’s digital transformation strategy is central to meeting the challenges of the pandemic
There is no question that the past few years have been challenging for Chile and its people. The country’s 2019 civil unrest was followed by an unprecedented public health crisis that taught us important lessons. One of these is reaffirming the important social role that banks play in Chile.
Over the past year, Banco de Chile has witnessed a crisis that initially affected public health, but quickly evolved and strongly impacted economies around the world. We understand that Chilean families, business owners and the community need us now more than ever.
Ever since Covid-19 struck in Chile, we have been aware of the challenges and the key role that our industry plays in society. In line with our three strategic priorities (efficiency and productivity, customer-centricity and commitment to Chile), we built various solutions in record time that allowed us to mitigate the effects of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, which we will undoubtedly continue to reinforce in the future.
We have accomplished a lot in just one year. First, we launched a National Support Plan in response to the public health crisis, which included a series of measures with a focus on our retail customers, SMEs and big companies, that were designed to address the difficult situation created by the pandemic. In addition, we were industry frontrunners in the process to reschedule our customers’ mortgage and consumer loan payments. We also approved over 39,000 government-backed Fogape Covid working capital loans for entrepreneurs, SMEs and big companies, and at present have granted more Fogape Reactivation loans than any other public or private bank in Chile. This reflects our solid, enduring commitment to our customers and their business interests.
We also further developed and promoted our digital offerings, including launching the FAN account, our first 100% digital product. This new account promotes financial inclusion, allowing segments without prior access to this type of product to quickly and easily start banking digitally. These customers also have access to all the benefits associated with being part of the Banco de Chile ecosystem.
There is no question that all of this has a common denominator: the cultural and digital transformation of all of our teams. At Banco de Chile, we accelerated a transition launched in 2019 and positioned it as a fundamental part of our work. This allowed us to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges that have emerged over the course of the past year. The digital transformation will continue to be key during 2021 and until we reach our goal next year of being a benchmark for digital banking in the Chilean financial industry.
Banco de Chile is therefore truly proud to be recognised once again by The European as “Bank of the Year”, “Innovative Digital Bank of the Year” and “Best Bank for Financial Inclusion”. These accolades undoubtedly motivate us to continue to further reinforce our commitment to Chile, the country’s development, its people and financial inclusion.
Finally, at Banco de Chile we are aware that the consequences of the pandemic will be with us for a long time. That’s why we will continue to play our social role in the country, developing initiatives to support Chilean families, making their lives easier and reinforcing our commitment to Chile.