Big investment projects in the Dominican Republic tend to lead back to one source – Banreservas.
The island nation’s largest bank, Banreservas has been involved in financing projects to boost the country’s economic motor, tourism, and fix the biggest drag on its economy, the energy sector.
Tourism accounts for 8.6% of the country’s $80 billion GDP, according to the World Bank, while the power sector is one of the principle problems affecting growth, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in an August 2021 report.
Since the pandemic, which decimated tourism, Banreservas has provided more than $100 million in loans for construction projects, including the addition of more than 900 new hotel rooms so the sector will be stronger when tourism is fully reactivated. It also played an integral role in a tourism assistance program to help entice visitors to return. The Insurance Tourism Assistance Plan offers free travel insurance for visitors. Banreservas sees it as a blueprint for other tourism-dependent countries in the Caribbean.
In the power sector, it participated in three structured loans of nearly $400 million to facilitate energy transition to boost generation while reducing carbon emissions.
The bank’s role in the country’s key economic sector, plus its continued stellar financial performance and non-stop innovation, won it the Bank of the Year awards for the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean region.
“In 2020 and 2021, we concentrated on our institutional mission of supporting the well-being and prosperity of all Dominicans, while innovating and providing outstanding financial results,” says General Manager Samuel Pereyra Rojas.
Banreservas is the country’s largest bank in every aspect. It has more than 3 million customers, in a country with approximately 11mn people. It saw impressive growth across the board in the 12 months ending in June 2021, with total assets up by 31.4%, deposits by 28.9% and loans by 4.0%. Non-performing loans were 1.56% of total loans, slightly below the system average.
Its net profit was up by a whopping 64.8%. Its net profit alone represented more than 40% of the total generated by all the country’s commercial banks.
The bank made significant leaps with its digital platforms and its efforts at expanding financial inclusion, in order words, bringing more Dominicans into the system.
The number of customers using its online banking channel, TuB@nco, increased by more than one-third in the 12 months through June 2021, while the number of transactions increased by more than 50%. In 2021, it inaugurated its first dual-service smart office that allows for online banking, but also includes in-person service support.
“The dual-modality office, a hybrid of traditional and digital services, is designed to provide financial solutions to customers who usually use regular branches, while offering technological capacities to encourage self-service translations,” says Pereyra Rojas.
Banreservas alone and in conjunction with the government launched a series of programs for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including a new platform that lets these companies accelerate payment of invoices for services provided to the state. A new mobile application for SMEs is a designed to provide multiple payment authorizations simultaneously. It also has a 24-hour “chat” service to resolve issues that might occur.
In 2021, Banreservas launched an ambitious program, “Bankerization is Homeland,” to increase the number of Dominicans in the financial system. A component of the program, which is coordinated with the banking regulatory agency, aims at providing access to people normally excluded, such people with no credit scores or whose creditworthiness has been compromised.
“Financial inclusion is an essential factor in reducing poverty and boosting the Dominican economy. With this project we want to reach more than 1 million Dominicans over two years, increasing inclusion and democratizing financial services for the most vulnerable sectors,” says Pereyra Rojas.