CEO of Banco de Chile Eduardo Ebensperger Orrego describes how the organisation is orchestrating a new digital strategy that puts the customer front and centre.
There is no question that these have been difficult times. Following the social crisis and violence that Chile faced in October 2019, we and the entire world confronted a global pandemic that changed our daily life. In view of this, I would first like to extend my most sincere thanks to the more than 12,000 employees who are part of the bank. Without their commitment, efforts and kindness, we would not be what we are today: El Banco de Chile, which translates to the Bank of Chile.
Over the past few months, we have made important strides and strategic progress in various areas of Banco de Chile’s business, which fills us with satisfaction and allows us to strengthen and advance our noteworthy and distinctive position in the industry.
Along these lines, we will continue to implement strategic decisions in order to be even stronger as we face current and future challenges – continuing always to meet the needs of our retail customers, entrepreneurs, SMEs and the general public. Over the course of our 129-year history, making a real contribution to the country’s development has been our goal, and that continues to be the case.
I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the progress made on our main strategic projects, particularly on the digital transformation process that we have been implementing over the past few years and the accelerated growth of our Cuenta FAN product. The digital onboarding process for this product has allowed us to expand our customer base and actively contribute to financial inclusion in Chile.
In 2021, we also completed the transformation of our customer service model. We have implemented a network of more modern and efficient offices, leveraging various digital applications and remote channels to further improve standards of customer service. All of this has brought us closer to our goal: to become the model for digital banking in Chile. The progress that we have made on the digital solutions that we have promoted — and which we will continue to develop – puts our customers at the centre of all our decisions. It reinforces our efforts to meet their current and future needs and improve our digital concept, making life easier and underlining our commitment to Chile.
We are proud to have made a product like our Cuenta FAN available to the country. It addresses the new needs that society is experiencing and allows us to continue to be an innovative agent of financial inclusion with a strong commitment to the development of the country and its people
We also have worked hard to strengthen the bank’s sustainability efforts with a special focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG). Some of the progress made in this area involves strengthening the internal policy framework, direct actions designed to support the community during the pandemic, improvements to the quality of the information published for our various stakeholders and the organisation of our last two shareholders’ meetings, which featured remote participation and voting.
These actions come in addition to our commitment to supporting the community in areas such as enterprise, financial education, inclusion and the Teletón, a solidarity-based project that we have supported since its creation over 40 years ago in an effort to allow thousands of children and young people to access rehabilitation services. Our continual and consistent sustainability performance was recognised both locally and internationally. Case in point, our MSCI’s ESG rating rose by three points, positioning us as the local industry leader.
At a local level, economic activity has stalled in Chile, and is combined with a cycle of high inflation. This suggests that the country will face complex and challenging times over the next few years. Despite this adversity, we once again reaffirm that our commitment to Chile is real and genuine. Our country and its people are, and will continue to be the strategic focus for Banco de Chile in 2022.
This requires all of us to work and make a commitment to change in a climate of dialogue and mutual respect. It is fundamental for all institutions to redouble our efforts. Today, all of us should be called on to support Chile’s development in order to improve people’s quality of life. As ever at Banco de Chile, our focus will be on making a dedicated contribution to the country’s economic growth and revival, mainly by supporting Chile’s entrepreneurs and SMEs, promoting their development and giving them the finance, training and digitalisation tools. I firmly believe that the changes that we have made can serve as the foundation for continuing to be a benchmark for the financial industry.
It is an honour 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 awards confirm that all of our efforts on behalf of our customers, employees, suppliers, stakeholders, investors and the wider community are on target. They also inspire us to continue our ongoing commitment to Chile by supporting the development of its people through financial inclusion, by backing our entrepreneurs and caring for the environment. Finally, we must continue to respond in a measured way to the emergencies that the country is experiencing.