First co-operative bank for Colombia will open in 2014

21 Oct 2013

Colombia's first co-operative bank is due to launch next year, after receiving government approval.

Coopcentral, which has more than 50 years experience in the sector as a financial co-operative, last year requested its conversion to a bank from authorities. Two months ago, the co-operative received the approval of the Financial Superintendence of Colombia.

The co-operative, which will become the 23rd bank in Colombia, has been helping to promote financial inclusion across the country by enabling more people to gain access to financial services.

The President of the Republic, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, has been supportive of this initiative. According to the President, the new co-operative bank can help to achieve financial inclusion and formalise the country’s informal economy. The conversion into a co-operative bank will also enable Coopcentral to provide its customers with a full range of financial services.

“It is the only co-operative bank of co-operative nature”, said Andrés López Bautista, Executive President of Coopcentral. “The most important aspect of this approval is that we will be able to offer compere services to the co-operative sector, particularly current accounts, a service that we currently unable to offer to our client."

As of next year Coopcentral will be able to offer accounts that will help other organisations to mobilise their resources and daily operations, explained Mr López Bautista. Clients will thus be able to rely on Coopcentral for all of their financial services. The Executive President of Coopcentral also revealed that the co-operative has consolidated its capital and generated surpluses of 11 billion pesos.

Coopcentral has a network of over 4,000 entities, with over 1,000 members benefiting from its services. Financial co-operatives have a long tradition in Colombia. The sector counts on 191 credit unions that have helped over four million members to obtain credits worth over USD $12 trillion, administrating funds that amounted to USD $6 trillion.

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