BANKs OF THE YEAR awards
Peru’s Interbank thinks outside the box
Interbank took its track record for innovation to a new
level when Peru’s government implemented one of the longest and harshest
lockdowns in the region in an effort to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank responded
with programs, that at the end of June, resulted in 31.4% of its portfolio of
retail and commercial loans being rescheduled. At the same time, it managed to
grow deposits by 25% while loans increased by 19. At the same time, non-performing
loans declined slightly to 2.4%.
only part of the story. It added products for retail and corporate customers, and
worked with the government to expand its e-wallet so that millions of Peruvians
outside the financial system could receive the state’s stimulus payments. A
full 74% of customers now interact digitally with the bank.
creativity and capacity to think outside the box earned it our Bank of the Year
award for Peru.
“We believe that the best way to have an impact in the
society is through creativity and offering innovative products that allow
customers to achieve their goals and aspirations,” said CEO Luis Felipe
Interbank’s in-house innovation laboratory, Labentana, has
been launching new products for years. The pandemic created new needs and as a
result the bank created a new tool, called “business account,” which allows
micro-entrepreneurs and small-business owners to open accounts and start using
“This is something new in the Peruvian market and it grew
exponentially during the pandemic, when these companies needed an account to
have access to government programs or receive digital payments,” said
It also revamped its “piggy bank” program that allows
customers to earmark savings for specific purposes. People can designate cash
for a trip or a special purpose. The bank added a window for health care with
the pandemic in mind. Money set aside in a piggy bank brings a slightly better
interest rate and customers do not immediately see the amount they have in each
category to avoid temptation.
“A tradition in Peru is for people to save money in the
envelopes that they then hide in a drawer. The envelopes would be named –my
trip, kid education – and taken out when needed. We are doing this in a safer
way for them,” said Castellanos.
Tunki, Interbank’s e-wallet, had been gaining ground, but it
took off during the pandemic when Peruvians began lining up at banks to receive
stimulus payments. The bank moved into high gear, working with the government
to make Tunki accessible to any Peruvian who wanted to receive the payment
electronically. It is the only e-wallet used for payments.
Castellanos said the pandemic, while devastating on many
levels, could help Peru boost overall financial inclusion. Peru has the lowest
level of financial inclusion in South America, according to the World Bank’s
Global Findex Database, but the country’s response to the pandemic is changing
“The changes in attitude toward digital adoption
will allow for greater financial inclusion,” he said.