CHAIRMAN OF GRUPO FINANCIERO GALICIA
Argentina 2017 I Finance I Leader
BIOGRAPHY With a degree in Economics from the Universidad Católica Argentina, he is associated with Banco Galicia since 1973. He served as Chairman of the Argentine Bankers Association and was elected a lifetime trustee and Chairman of the Banco Galicia Foundation. Under his leadership, Banco Galicia became a reference in sustainable management within its social environment.
“BANCO GALICIA HAS BUILT A STRONG BRAND WHICH IS RECOGNIZED BY THE ARGENTINE PEOPLE THAT KNOW WE KEEP OUR PROMISES AND HONOR OUR COMMITMENTS.”
BANCO GALICIA BECAME THE LARGEST DOMESTICALLY-OWNED COMMERCIAL BANK IN ARGENTINA. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT ITS BACKGROUND?
Banco Galicia was founded in 1905. It offers a full spectrum of financial services, through affiliated companies and a variety of distribution channels, to individual and corporate customers. Banco Galicia has built a strong brand which is recognized by the Argentine people that know we keep our promises and honor our commitments. Our extensive experience in the country has allowed us to become stronger and to learn to adapt to continuously changing economic conditions.
We were one of the first Argentine companies to be listed on Buenos Aires Stock Exchange in 1907 and we are also listed in the Córdoba Stock Exchange. We have been the first Latin American bank to enter the U.S. stock markets where we trade on Nasdaq since 1993. This has allowed us to continue to enjoy access to international capital even when Argentina was closed to international financial markets. Another benefit of being a listed company is that, as we comply with the highest standards, it allows us to have very solid links with international organizations.
Most recently, we have partnered with the International Finance Corporation offering a USD 130 million credit line to boost Argentina’s energy efficiency and agribusiness that will help to improve the competitive edge of these crucial sectors for the country’s economy. We also work with many international banks that pro- vide us with credit lines used mostly for import and export operations and company loans.
BANCO GALICIA IS ONE OF THE LEADING BANKS IN THE CORPORATE SEGMENT IN ARGENTINA. HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE FROM OTHER PLAYERS IN THE MARKET?
We offer services to a diverse range of clients, ranging from small to mid-sized local businesses to large conglomerates with offices across the country. One of our most important competitive advantages is our vast network of branches and our 22 corporate centers located in all regions of Argentina with teams specialized in each region offering solutions adapted to our customers’ needs. Our corporate clients also choose Banco Galicia for our local knowledge. We know all the players operating in the different sectors of the economy and the risks of investing in each region of the country. We have developed long-term relationships by working together and providing services that are high in quality, flexible in approach and meet the changing needs of our clients.
INNOVATION HAS ALWAYS BEEN PART OF THE BANK’S CULTURE. YOUR INVESTMENT IN TARJETA NARANJA HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESFUL, CAN YOU TELL US MORE?
Banco Galicia was founded in 1905 by my grandfather among other partners. Since then, the bank has always been committed to improving the financial sector in Argentina, adding value through innovation. A notable example of this approach is our investment in “Tarjeta Naranja” which started with two founders who owned a shop specialized in sports clothing in Córdoba.
They began providing credit to their customers using an orange card to keep track of their expenses and then used the same system to lend money, which was very successful. In 1995, we became a shareholder favoring expansion to the whole country, along with new plans and financial services for clients. Today the founders are still leading the company which has over 5 million customers and has become Argentina’s first independent issuer.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IN ARGENTINA?
I believe that we are living in one of the most important times in the history of Argentina. There is a real shift in the way the population wants the country to be managed and they want a real transformation of the country and its institutions. Today, this process is moving forward independently of political parties and I believe that we are moving in the right direction with the reforms being carried by President Mauricio Macri.
All these problems we are facing today are the heritage from the mismanagement of previous Governments. Argentina has experienced many years of populism which allowed for so many things to be subsidized today so, recovery will be a gradual process. The Government has to continue working on reducing inflation, fiscal deficit, interest rates and unemployment but there is much more to be done. The most important goal is that the country continues to grow, creating a macroeconomic environment that is favorable for these changes to take effect.
Today Argentina offers many interesting investment opportunities to foreign investors, especially in the energy and agriculture sectors. One of the most outstanding characteristics of Argentina is the level of education of its workforce that is qualified to work in very technical and demanding industries as software, technology and communications.