Author: Samuel Pereyra, CEO, Banreservas
Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana, known as ‘the bank of all Dominicans,’ is at a pivotal moment in its history. Serving as a catalyst in the Dominican economy, the bank has a strong reputation for participating in activities that promote the sustainable development of the country’s main productive sectors, support its sports and culture, and protect the environment.
As part of the celebrations for our 82 years of service, Banreservas is proud to be opening a third representative office. Located in Miami, close to the Dominican Consulate, it will attract new business opportunities to the country as well as serving the Dominican diaspora. Our existing representative offices located in Madrid and New York, along with the new office in Miami, will allow Dominicans to access banking products and services managed from within the Dominican Republic.
These offices make Banreservas the only Dominican bank to go beyond its borders with an international presence in the US and Europe. They demonstrate our genuine interest in encouraging the economic growth of the nation and promoting the prosperity of all Dominicans, wherever they are.
The bank supports its clients to integrate ESG principles into their operations
Our digital strategy also supports these aims, with the Tu Banco app and website boasting 1.2 million active users as well as a monthly average of 7.2 million digital transactions recorded over the last five months.
We pride ourselves on our inclusivity and accessibility: our dual offices, launched in 2021, provide customers with an innovative combination of traditional and digital banking services, including the MIO electronic wallet. Digital account holders, meanwhile, can open a savings account directly in the app or online without having to visit a branch. This new feature saw 50,000 accounts opened in the first month following launch.
Our customer service chatbot, ‘ALMA,’ helps clients via WhatsApp, and our new Digital Token feature allows account holders to authorise transactions by generating unique and temporary codes to authenticate access. Banking with us is safer than ever as a result. Furthermore, we are the only bank in the country whose app doesn’t consume data – all Dominicans should have access to banking services, no matter their means.
2023 has seen an improvement in our financial performance thanks to strong leadership. The loan portfolio has grown by 15 percent, total deposits are up 18 percent and perceived profits are up 34 percent, from a year previously. Banreservas has achieved results that represent a milestone for the firm, our loan portfolio exceeding DOP$500,000, with a non-performing loan ratio of 0.73 percent (the lowest in our history). As of September 2023 our market share was 32 percent, making us one of the country’s leading financial institutions. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed opportunities for improvement in many aspects of the way we live. Continuing with the same patterns of production, energy and consumption is no longer viable – together we need to transform these habits into ones that will lead us along a path of sustainable, inclusive, long-term development.
Taking this into consideration, and wishing to achieve better risk management, since 2021 Banreservas has implemented an environmental and social risk management system (SARAS) whose purpose is to monitor environmental and social risks within our investment and credit activities. One of its main strategic objectives is to develop environmental and social awareness in the next generation in order to achieve a sustainable future. We do this in-house too: our internal Culture of Sustainability programme includes virtual workshops for raising awareness, training and empowering our employees in institutional sustainability.
We have been keenly aware of the importance of ESG since long before the pandemic, however. Since 2017 Banreservas has been part of the United Nations Global Pact, thereby committing to working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), presenting an annual progress report on the adoption of sustainability in the company’s activities. In addition, Banreservas is an active member of the National Business Support Network for Environmental Protection (ECORED), using its online evaluation tool ‘IndicaRSE’ along with other international standards to ensure we are pushing forward with our sustainability agenda.
The bank promotes clean energy by offering loans for sustainable solutions
In 2007, the Dominican Republic passed legislation on renewable energy as part of its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2030. The main objective of this law was to increase the contribution of renewable energy sources in electricity generation to 25 percent by 2025. To comply with the legislation we launched ‘Renueva Verde Banreservas,’ a new financial service programme to facilitate families’ and companies’ switch to clean energy solutions. The programme is an invitation to incorporate environmentally friendly solutions at home and at work, offering financing of up to 80 percent of the value of the product, with fixed rates from 6.45 percent for up to three years, payable in installments of up to 84 months. Also available are partnership with businesses, financial education programmes, and special offers on products and services provided by companies in the Reservas family.
Together with its investment banking team, the bank supports its clients to integrate ESG principles into their operations, develop resilience and risk management and unlock new business opportunities in an evolving market landscape. Within its credit offer, the bank promotes clean energy by offering loans for sustainable solutions such as solar panels, hybrid and electric vehicles, scooters and electric bicycles.
We have also signed an agreement with Interenergy Systems Dominicana, a division of the InterEnergy Group and its Evergo technology platform, to install electric charging stations in the parking lots of our offices nationwide. We strive for energy efficiency in our own offices too, achieving power usage effectiveness indexes as low as 1.5 in our data centres.
As a result of all these initiatives, Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana has been awarded 43 Sustainability 3Rs certifications by the Dominican Republic’s Center for Agricultural and Forestry Development. With most of the awards at gold level, we are the most recognised financial institution in the country in this regard, a sign of how seriously we take our responsibility of contributing to the country’s sustainability goals.
Supporting Dominican society
We contribute to the development of Dominican society through the work of our Sustainability and Social Responsibility Department. This work includes our focus on financial education and inclusion, which promotes a savings culture for sustainable economic wellbeing. Whether Dominicans are right at the beginning of their financial journeys or seeking financial rehabilitation, our financial education and culture workshops can help. The ‘Preserva’ programme, meanwhile, provides access to low-cost banking products aimed at promoting savings and good credit.
We support entrepreneurship through our ‘Cree Banreservas’ programme. It supports the sustainable development of innovative projects by Dominican entrepreneurs through specialised technical mentoring. Development of the productive sector is also key: the Banreservas ‘Coopera’ programme promotes the socio-economic development of national producers. It does so through the promotion of social projects for the production of goods and services located in vulnerable communities. Social inclusion is at the heart of the ‘Banreservas Accesible’ project too, promoting access to job opportunities within the Banreservas’ family for people with disabilities.
The bank carries out even more sustainability activities through ‘Voluntariado Banreservas,’ our solidarity and commitment programme. Plugging into two of the main focuses of the bank – social responsibility and sustainability, and human capital – it carries out community benefit projects covering areas as diverse as the environment, health, education and culture.
Looking to the future
Banreservas is dedicated to improving quality of life in the Dominican Republic through strategies that support the country’s long-term development. This is only possible through a combination of effective management of resources and prioritising the most vulnerable in society.
As a leading government-owned financial institution, we are well placed to compete with private banks to support the needs of our people.