Citibanamex: Inclusive by Design
By Ernesto Torres Cantu, Chief Executive Officer, Citibanamex, and Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance November 02, 2016 10:00 AM
When Citi announced a US$1 billion investment in Citibanamex – proof of Mexico’s significant role in the bank’s global strategy – we made sure that this investment would be sustainable through the creation of a business unit dedicated to financial inclusion.
Mexico’s residents face significant hurdles to financial inclusion. According to the 2015 Financial Inclusion National Survey, while 8 million adults have opened a bank account for the first time, approximately 38 million remain unbanked. That means more than half of the country’s adult population is cut off from the mainstream banking system. As a result, advances in financial technology are not improving economic outcomes. For instance, just 9.5 percent of adults are using mobile banking, even though 75 percent have a mobile phone.
The Mexican government has taken significant and meaningful steps to expand access, especially with the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. But these steps are enhanced by partnership with the private sector – and Citi’s investment shows our commitment for the long haul and a formal alignment with Mexico’s national plan.
Even though Citibanamex Financial Inclusion is a new unit, the bank’s work in this area is not.
Citibanamex, with support from the global Citi unit Inclusive Finance, has a history of working closely with the Mexican government to deliver social payments into debit cards, creating efficiencies by substituting the use of cash, and has been serving the local microfinance industry for more than a decade.
We created a network of 20,000+ In-Store-Branches (ISBs) and 40,000 Points of Sale (PoS) devices across the country to expand access to customers including the unbanked. We launched a joint venture with America Movil to create “Transfer,” a mobile payments operator, which has added more than 4.7 million active clients – most of them new to the banking system. Moreover, we have funded financial education programs that have reached more than 13 million people in the country.
The creation of Citibanamex Financial Inclusion is our clearest indicator yet that Citi believes expanding access to safe and affordable financial services to empower households with a more secure financial future isn’t just good for communities. It’s good for our business.
We agree with the Mexican government that inclusion is good business, and we are fully embracing those values in this new chapter for Citibanamex, where inclusion is built-in by design.