Bank of the Year 2018 -- Panama: Banco General

Bank of the Year 2018 -- Panama: Banco General

For President Raul Alemán, the future of Panamanian Banco General rests not on broadening the bank’s technology reach, but rather with using data to hone in on customer’s needs based on age and resources.

“The level of banking on a commercial and personal basis in Panama is relatively high, compared to the rest of Central America,” he says. “That allows us to offer a level of tech products that is slightly more advanced. But the bank has evolved in terms of new products and new services, especially in digital and mobile banking.”

As of the third quarter of 2018, the bank held $18 billion in assets with a profit margin exceeding $317 million. “We’ve always held around a 19% market share in the country’s lending business and over 26% of the market share in deposits,” he adds pointing to its $11.8 billion lending platform and $11.6 billion in deposits.

Alemán says that financial services, like every other industry in Panama, has been impacted by the nationwide demonstrations and strikes. Even so, Banco General anticipates closing out 2018 with a 6% growth year-over-year – just above the national GDP growth of 5%.

The key to the bank’s success, Alemán says, has been in tending to its core business. “We have maintained essentially the same base clientele over years. We have increased our attention to, among all things, commercial banking while we refine our modes of banking.”

Banco General’s strategic plan for the next three years targets business development in specific sectors. “We are working more and more with technology tailored to each sector of the banking population – whether it is commercial banking or service banking,” Alemán says, noting that the bank continues to invest more than $20 million per year to improve its tech products.

He suggests the bank’s history and longevity with its core clients in both the commercial and the service banking sectors have allowed it to exploit data for a tailored customer experience. LF