Banking

Colombia Banking

The past decade has seen the Colombian banking sector expand against a backdrop of economic growth, improved security and macroeconomic stability. An emerging middle class in need of financial services has fuelled the rise in banking penetration. Although accessing financing has often been a struggle for low-income households and micro-businesses, a fresh influx of microcredit and mobile banking is providing financial services to new segments of the population. Total assets of credit institutions reached $213.9bn by December 2013, growing 14.7% from the previous year. Though well-established Colombian groups continue to lead the market, recent merger and acquisition activity is changing the sector’s structure, bringing in new players. On the regulatory front, 2014 has been a transition year thus far, as Colombia’s financial system moves towards the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards, scheduled to commence in 2015. This chapter features an interview with Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez, CEO, Grupo Aval.