Winner: Banco Ficohsa
Inclusive growth – and higher profitability, too
Banco Ficohsa has increased its volume of loans while reducing delinquency levels – all while
adopting policies to improve financial inclusion in Honduras. And it did so while boosting
The bank, which wins the award for Bank of the Year – Honduras, ended June 2022 with a
credit portfolio of 76.8 billion lempiras, a 10.5% increase over the previous year. Its nonperforming loans ratio dropped to 2.25% from 2.4%, reflecting the improvement of economic conditions after the worst months of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the eruption of the coronavirus, that ratio was 1.91%.
“After two years of pandemic, Honduras’ banking sector has played a key role in the
reactivation of the economy, enabling the dynamism of many productive sectors by providing
credit,” says Camilo Atala, the CEO of Grupo Financiero Ficohsa.
“Credit volumes have gone up and we have over-come the risk of deterioration of the loans for
which we provided some respite during the pandemic.”
The improvement has also been noted in the bank’s profitability numbers. Net profits reached
828.7 million lempiras in June 2022, a 48.3% increase over the same period of 2021. ROE
went from 12.87% to 17.94% in the same period.
Atala expects the business environment to become harder in months to com due to factors such
as inflation, the US monetary policy and the Ukraine war’s impact on supply chains. Credit
should grow more slowly, and margins are likely to come under pressure, he says.
But he also highlights that Ficohsa has made investments in modernization measures such as
the implementation of digital banking that should help the bank and its clients to navigate a
more difficult market.
“At Ficohsa, we have a clear digital pathway, and we understand the reality in which we
develop our business,” Atala says.
The bank has developed products such as FicoLink, which allows companies to charge for their
sales via a link sent to clients by WhatsApp or social media; FicoSend and FicoChat, which
enables clients to easily send and receive remittances from abroad; and FicoMall, an
ecommerce platform for Honduran retailers. The bank has 21,000 SME clients, of whom half
are companies led by women, according to Atala.
Another priority is to help boost financial inclusion in the country. Ficohsa has launched a
programme to set up a network of correspondents in non-banking outfits such as corner shops, restaurants, supermarkets, drugstores and others. Clients can use those correspondents to perform tasks like the payment of credit card bills, cashing remittances, putting money into their savings or applying for loans.
Other initiatives aim at boosting financial education in pre-school and among families and
promoting the use of financial services by women.