Pioneer of the new banking era

Banorte Headquarters, Santa Fe, Mexico

Author: Carlos Hank-González, President, Grupo Financiero Banorte

December 15, 2021

It has been over 18 months since the COVID-19 lockdown and the pandemic has radically reshaped our lives both personally and professionally. While these have been tough times, we are also seeing firsthand how the pandemic is fueling innovation on an extraordinary scale, from scientific breakthroughs behind life-saving COVID-19 vaccinations, to technological advancements that have facilitated a pivot. global remote work.

Progress has been rapid, efficient and driven by need. Now, as the world seeks to turn around, these innovations will continue to revolutionize our post-pandemic lives. For the banking sector, the pandemic has served to accelerate many digital changes that were already well underway. For Banorte in particular, the challenge has been to accelerate our digital programs to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

Digital transformation at Banorte
For years, a digital revolution in banking was long overdue. At Grupo Financiero Banorte, we have been working tirelessly to expand our digital offerings for many years and have led the way for the Mexican banking industry in digitalization and personalized services.

Our goal is to seamlessly combine our in-branch services with our digital efforts

As part of this trip, we have launched many innovations, including functionalities for our mobile banking application “Banorte Movil”; as well as achieved several milestones by becoming the first bank in Mexico to offer a wide variety of digital features to our customers, such as: a mobile token in 2011; a digital debit and credit card that can be generated instantly in 2013; identity verification by selfie in 2016; and credit cards and mutual funds available from the app in minutes in 2019. For more than a decade, we have focused on our exploratory analysis and research on how to seize technological opportunities. and to best meet the changing needs of consumers.

Without a doubt, this preparatory work served us well when the crisis erupted, and we were forced to accelerate what we had planned for the next five years to happen in less than one. Having laid the foundation for this digital transformation, we found ourselves in a good position to serve our customers when the pandemic arrived. As social distancing guidelines hampered in-person visits to branches, our customers have gone digital with remarkable ease. In just one year, we’ve seen an increase of 1.2 million customers using our digital services, with just 4% of transactions completed at branches. While this growth is certainly something to celebrate, Banorte is not stopping yet; we still have a long way to go to realize our digital vision.

Recently, we signed a strategic agreement with Google Cloud to continue IT modernization across all our platforms and services, truly propelling Banorte into a more technological and innovative future. The deal will also bring Banorte closer to artificial intelligence (AI) in data analytics, allowing us to deliver hyper-personalized experiences to our customers while deepening our understanding of their needs. In a similar vein, in 2020, we also signed a joint venture with Rappi, a tech ‘unicorn’ from Latin America, to develop a new generation of digital financial services within the superapplication, another exciting initiative to add. to our growing portfolio.

A strategy with customers at the center
When it comes to Banorte’s approach to service, the mainstay is quite simple: the customer is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we always strive to better understand our customers, their unique needs and circumstances. We know that every individual – and indeed, every small business – is different, which is why we strive to provide a highly personalized banking experience for each of our clients.

At Banorte, we believe hyper-personalization is the key to maintaining a competitive advantage in this demanding industry. Increasingly, in all aspects of their lives, customers demand more personalized experiences and tailored offers, and banking is no different. Fortunately, every interaction with customers provides us with valuable real-time data on their banking habits and individual lifestyles. We are then able to use AI to analyze this data, which helps us create a profile of each of our customers and offer them products and services in return, while simultaneously improving the efficiency of our branch. in terms of sales and savings. In this way, prioritizing personalized experiences has proven to be beneficial for Banorte as well as our valued customers.

Today’s customers need access to a wide range of services with the reassurance of not compromising their security when doing digital banking. If their needs are not being met by their current bank, we can expect them to change – after all, digital acceleration has made switching banks easier than ever for customers. With all of that in mind, it’s safe to say that the world of digital banking is getting incredibly fast and competitive.

While Banorte’s digital product portfolio has been incredibly popular with its customers, we also understand that some customers continue to enjoy the traditional banking experience. Our goal is to seamlessly combine our in-branch services with our digital efforts, ensuring a flexible experience that works for everyone, whether a client prefers to bank in person or on their smartphone.

Solidarity with Mexicans
However, it’s not just our digital products that have helped customers during the COVID-19 crisis. Guided by solidarity and our commitment to Mexicans, we were determined to stand by our customers from the onset of the pandemic. We are proud to have become the first bank in Mexico to offer its clients a loan deferral program in response to the pandemic. Since we introduced this system, which allows payment deferrals of four to six months, more than 630,000 loans have been deferred, giving clients leeway.

Grupo Financiero Banorte CEO Marcos Ramírez-Miguel (left) and President Carlos Hank-González
Grupo Financiero Banorte’s
CEO, Marcos Ramírez-Miguel (left)
and president, Carlos Hank-González

In these unprecedented times, we are also committed to ensuring the safety of our staff and customers. Our remote work policy is still in place, with 60% of employees continuing to work from home, which has proven to be a more efficient way of working – in addition to reduced risks of exposure to COVID-19, of course. . These actions are not only the result of our commitment to customers and employees, but they have made us aware of the profound reassessment of the values ​​that all people and organizations go through.

The financial industry is the key
Understanding this new set of needs that individuals have allows us to go further in banking. As part of the financial sector, we must find opportunities in the crisis and assume our key role on the road to economic recovery, which will also depend on our ability to transform ourselves and improve our business when necessary.

To build lasting relationships through value-added propositions, we need to consider working with all of our stakeholders and understand that the context has changed. For a true recovery to take place, it must be comprehensive and sustainable. We are already seeing clear signs of recovery. The main economic indicators show us that the confidence of citizens and investors is back.

In Mexico, there has been significant growth in the economy as well as in consumption, investment and credit. While we are not yet to claim victory, we must celebrate what we have already achieved together. Perhaps the challenges of the past year and a half haven’t got us as far or as fast as we hoped, but the pandemic has opened up new opportunities. For Banorte, the mission is very clear: to be the engine of recovery in Mexico by honoring our commitment to Mexicans to help them move forward and achieve their dreams.

Decarbonize our business
During the pandemic, we have kept our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy at the heart of our operating model and will continue to develop it in the years to come. This means that the environmental aspects of our engagement are as important as the social and governance aspects.

As a founding member of the UN Net Zero Banking Alliance, we are fully committed to decarbonizing our operations, as well as our loan and investment portfolios by 2050. In addition, we are also a founding member of the Principles of the United Nations for a responsible bank, and for over 10 years we have been pioneering best practices in social and environmental risk management in credit portfolios within the Mexican banking sector.

As we look to the future, our ESG principles will continue to define our business model. In our digitization strategy, we also commit to exceed and generate best practices by putting our customers first. Combining the latest technology with our deep knowledge and understanding of customers, we hope to go beyond our customers’ expectations, always striving for excellence as we shape the banking industry of tomorrow.

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