As COVID-19 swept the globe, financial institutions with a digital-first strategy stepped to the fore. Marcos Ramírez and Carlos Hank-Gonzalez are respectively CEO and Chairman of Grupo Financiero Banorte; they discuss how Banorte’s customers responded to the lockdown-enforced switch to digital, the future for Banorte’s digitisation, and the bank’s mission: to renew Mexico’s economy with sustainability at its heart.
World Finance: Carlos, how have Banorte’s customers responded to switching to digital through the pandemic?
Carlos Hank-Gonzalez: Our customers are in the heart of everything we do. When social distancing made branch visits difficult, they switched to digital with remarkable ease. At Banorte we had been working on our digital transformation for many years before, so we were ready to serve them through whichever channel they preferred. Today, almost six million of our clients are digital, and only 3.1 percent of transactions take place in branches.
World Finance: Now Marcos, what’s next for Banorte’s digitalisation?
Marcos Ramírez: Thank you. We believe that hyper-personalisation is the key to the best banking experience. In 2021 we signed an alliance with Google Cloud to continue improving our platforms through cloud technology, artificial intelligence, and analytics. But we have all options available. Some still value traditional banking, so we’re combining branch services with our digital offer. In this regard, we are continuously enhancing processes across the organisation to improve efficiency. So our collaborators better input their time to provide value-added offerings to our customers.
World Finance: Carlos, is this transformation the bank’s top priority?
Carlos Hank-Gonzalez: Digital transformation is a part of our commitment to people. But it must come alongside a sustainable recovery of the economy that banks must ignite. So our mission is very clear. Mexico needs a bank that works as the engine to that recovery; and that bank is Banorte.
World Finance: And how are you making sustainability a part of that mission?
Marcos Ramírez: Sustainability is a key element of Banorte’s DNA – especially during the pandemic. We have kept our ESG strategy at the core of our operations. We just became a founding member of the United Nations Net Zero Banking Alliance, committing to decarbonise our operations and portfolios by 2050. And we have pioneered social and environmental risk management in credit portfolios for years. So we will continue to do so in the years to come.