Banco de Bogotá recently announced plans to extend its financial product adoption and literacy program by taking its “Route to Financial Inclusion” project to another 50 municipalities in 2017. This is the next step in an initiative that the Bogotá-based bank launched last year, bringing its mobile office to 24 areas throughout Colombia during 2016 to show those in remote areas how various offerings can help them manage their money.
Now branded as a push to become “Bank for All” in Colombia, the program has its roots in an effort that dates back nearly a decade. Since 2008, Banco de Bogotá has sought to increase its micro-loan writing volume, promote low-cost banking options, and generally expand coverage among those left behind by the lack of development in certain areas, particularly locations affected by conflict in recent decades.
Through its Route to Financial Inclusion, Banco de Bogotá reached five departments in 2016 — Tolima, Huila, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, and Cauca — and it plans to increase both its geographical and generational reach this year. With the future in mind, the company is ramping up its campaign to connect with young adults and teenagers who can benefit from learning financial lessons early on.
“We are pleased to present our program of financial inclusion to the country, and the results achieved so far show the great work taking place throughout the nation,” said Óscar Guzmán Guzmán, manager of financial inclusion at Banco de Bogotá.
The bank says that it has given out nearly 125,000 micro-loans since 2008, with the average amount being 5 million pesos (roughly $1,750 USD at today’s exchange rate). For nearly 10% of those who have drawn a loan, this was their first experience using the formal banking system, according to Banco de Bogotá.
Nationwide, the financial institution has 7,337 points of service in 778 municipalities. Banco de Bogotá says it has also tried to further educate potential customers about the additional access available through its online and mobile channels.