No one had foreseen in their worst scenario that the pandemic would last these two years, and that there were going to be strong blows to the economy and the financial sector, but that in the end both proved to be creative and resilient, and, above all, that the banking could be part of the solution by granting credit.

For Marcos Ramírez, CEO of Grupo Financiero Banorte, today banks are more ready than ever to continue lending, since banking institutions fared better than expected.

Marcos Ramírez, CEO of Grupo Financiero Banorte

In an interview in the framework of the 85th Banking Convention, he acknowledged that if someone had asked him about his expectations regarding the magnitude of the pandemic, or its implications, or the levels that the exchange rate would reach, he would not have hit anyone, because he was much more pessimistic.

He considered that the health crisis in many ways was sobering; “We learned that we can work remotely, we learned to have clear objectives, they asked me “hey, how long is this going to last?” I don’t know, one week, one month, I never would have thought two years, I can’t believe how creative and how resilient we were, I mean the bank and I mean the economy.”

For Ramírez Miguel, the position of banking in Mexico is important, since far from being a problem, it is part of the solution, since all banks, including Banorte, are ready to continue looking for viable and bankable projects.

“We hope to turn the economy around more and make money reproduce, we learned, and also, a reflection that I make, is that hopefully we don’t throw away what we learned and don’t return to the same; Hopefully this learning will let us know that we can work on hybrid models, that both our clients and ourselves adapt to adversity and were able to overcome it, I think there are many things to learn and even be thankful for in this process”, he highlighted.

For this reason, the economic panorama going forward looks stable and growing, despite everything. “We have to make this the floor, so that in the coming years we can grow more and I think that if it is possible, the country still has many things to do, we have great potential due to the geographical location, we have all the natural wealth , and the truth, I tell you from my heart, because of the idiosyncrasy of the Mexican, we are very resilient, I think that we have to come out of this crisis much better than we came from”.

In his opinion, growth at rates greater than two percent per year in economic activity may be possible, if more investments arrive, the country may change “drastically.”

However, he considered that this requires promoting the rule of law. “Mexican laws are very well done, it is a system that does work, it is a proven issue, it is not an invention or anything, what we need is to improve it, I think that is the most important thing when they ask me, what would I like for a dream? Well, continue and promote the rule of law and then, as a bank, we are going to attract more investments”.

Technological change, key

In 2020 Banorte concluded part of the strategy initiated five years ago in terms of technological modernization and integration of acquired businesses, and the goal for 2023 is to be the first in technology resources for its clients.

“We are going to be obsessed with that, with having the best digital banking, the best smart treasuries for our corporate and business clients,” said the manager.

He explained that a great step that the financial group took in 2020 was to have implemented a very noble technology, in the sense that any technology can be plugged in and unplugged; “We can marry Google, but we can also marry Microsoft; we can marry many firms and independents and that makes it possible for us to adapt to the fastest cybersecurity in the world, for example, ”he said.

He stressed that the most important thing is that the pandemic advanced the technological cultural change of institutions and clients.

Although that will not mean that they will become a bank that fully serves everyone remotely, it will be the advance of a hybrid bank, since the branches and ATMs will continue to exist, “we will be universal”, providing services through different channels, he said.

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