Fernando Calloia | Banco de la Republica Uruguay | Video
The New Economy interviews Fernando Calloia, President, Banco de la Republica Uruguay, on the role of public banks in UruguayShow transcript
Like many South American countries, Uruguay’s economy is growing rapidly. President Fernando Calloia explains the evolving role of public bank Banco de la Republica Uruguay, and its successful environmental and social policies.
The New Economy: Why is there a public bank in the Uruguayan banking system?
Fernando Calloia:The importance of the Banco de la Republica as a public bank has been changing over time. Originally, it was a bank that gave stability to the financial system, later it gave abundant credit when this product was scarce, and lately it is focused on the issues of social and environmental sustainability as key aspects of its mission.
The New Economy: What would you say distinguishes your bank from your competitors?
Fernando Calloia:What distinguishes the bank from its competitors is fundamentally its vision in terms of the economic and social development of the country. It is the only bank of national capital that Uruguay has. Therefore, it focuses its activity mainly on the economic and social development of the country.
The New Economy: And why the emphasis on sustainability?
Fernando Calloia:Sustainability is an essential element, not only for the bank, but also for the country. The country has focused its politics as a country that defines itself as ‘Natural Uruguay’. Therefore, the bank follows that policy with emphasis on everything to do with social and environmental sustainability in the financing of investment projects.
The New Economy: Stability is in itself an achievement in this difficult economic climate, but, what would be your other achievements recently?
Fernando Calloia:The results, fundamentally, had an impact on the social sphere. Everything offering financial services to the whole population, and this has achieved extraordinary results, to the extent that 25 percent of the population has some dealings with the Banco de la Republica, that is from a social point of view on the basis that economic development is achieved not only with specific social policies, but also with financial policies that help the financial inclusion of the population.
On the subject of environmental policies, adhesion to the principles of Ecuador, and the agreement of the United Nations have been the main objectives reached in the last years.
The New Economy: Looking in more depth at your strategy, what would you identify as the most important projects you’re working on?
Fernando Calloia:The most important projects that we have for the next few years are, first and foremost, everything relating to micro-finance. Reaching the global objectives as a bank we found that Uruguay has a deficit in financing micro businesses, and for that reason we have created a specific business that is dedicated to all the financing of the micro and small businesses, with products and instruments defined in those areas. That’s what we’ve done regarding micro-finances.
With regards to global matters of social and environmental sustainability, we want to go as far as possible in everything relating to financing and participating in businesses that have to do with policies that help social integration and looking after the environment as the essential elements of the policy of a public bank in the coming years.
The New Economy: Certainly these are challenging times in every region; what then would be your expectations for your bank, and for the whole Uruguayan economy?
Fernando Calloia: In the last few years the Uruguayan economy has had a high growth rate, one of the highest in South America, and that has characterised the country. It has had a very important flow of foreign investment and the Banco de la Republica is trying to ensure that this growth happens in an economically sustainable and socially fair way, in keeping with the process of economic and social development that has characterised the country over the last few years.