“The pandemic was an accelerator” Coll agreed. “The banks had electronic means, but Banco Ciudad entered between 400,000 and 500,000 clients at the branches. But the first days, with everything closed, people continued to charge and transfer. We had a very big jump in digital channels, in all ages. Today we see that whoever started using the electronic channel, it is difficult for me to return . When there are alternatives as a bank, it is difficult for the customer to use the face-to-face channel again. The use of what already existed was accelerated, and it forced us banks to think about another way of working, “he added.
“The experience at Comafi is similar. A transformation that was underway and more advanced than we thought was accelerated. If a year before they told us that the entire team was going to be in the house, I would have had doubts if it could work. And it did not happen. The banks managed to provide a good service, ”said Haro, who mentioned how SMEs that are clients of the bank also had to adapt:“ For SMEs, a revolutionary case was the growth of the Echeqs. It seems to me that there were positive changes that are here to stay and we are going to continue deepening digitization, as is happening in the rest of the economy. Banking was a bit behind compared to fintech companies, and this helped us to bridge the gap ”.
The advance of digitization, which had to accelerate suddenly, fostered financial inclusion and helped banks reach places they didn’t before. And, also, to people of different ages. “From the bank we work on a program called Include, to lead the elderly to digitization. DNI account is a tool that allows you to operate very easily. Therefore, we were surprised that a younger audience chose us. The average age of the bank lowered. It made us grow up as a younger audience, ”said Quercia.
“In the city bank, 20% of the clients are elderly or retired. We must break the myth that they cannot use electronic channels “Said Coll, who added:” Ultimately, they continued to operate, paying the assets, without having to go to the branches. We had to run, feed the ATMs, we had to redirect the infrastructure to the neighborhoods for example. But that myth that the largest do not use electronic media, fell during the pandemic. Today is hard to believe that the customer wants to queue again at the banks . Today you could go around with your cell phone and make purchases and extract money just using your cell phone. We did that with things that we had, but that we had to start implementing quickly ”.
Haro He also explained the role that the capital market had so that many SMEs could access financing during the pandemic: “In the capital market, not only was there no brake, but there was even growth this year. Above all, with a focus on SMEs. The operation of discounting checks guaranteed by SGR or by banks on the stock market has been growing. It is the SME’s gateway to the capital market, it is the easiest instrument . There was a lot of the case of the need to increase working capital, since there were some items that fell, but others that grew. In that case, a lot of teaching had to be done. Tell how the instrument works. There was also a lot of growth in guaranteed Negotiable Obligations, which is an interesting regime that the CNV has ”.
Finally, and analyzing how the transactions will be in the very near future, the speakers analyzed Transfers 3.0. “It is a BCRA program that is promoting discouraging the use of cash and makes all companies that are administrators of a QR open it to the market so that any wallet can read it,” said Quercia, who explained: “It is going to to be able to pay in any business that has the QR code and the business will be credited with the money on that day, with a very low commission. The client will be able to use any wallet ”.
“You can do almost everything with your cell phone,” said Coll. “ In Argentina you even have the document on your cell phone. Certain things were missing that are being resolved. Until a few years ago, plastics were the great solution. Today the QR code, the extraction without a debit card, replace the need to use a plastic. The BCRA even gave the banks the option of issuing debit cards or not. Because it is very difficult to replace credit cards in isolated places. Today, whoever has access to a Wi-Fi or 4G network, can operate in the same way as someone who is in the downtown area. A barrier that existed was broken ”, he concluded.