Jorge Brito

EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF BANCO MACRO

Argentina 2017  I  Finance  I  Interview

BIOGRAPHY He is the President and the largest individual shareholder of Banco Macro, an Argentine bank he cofounded. He is also the main shareholder of Inversora Juramento and the President and Chairman of the Argentine Banking Association (ADEBA). In 2016, he won the Fortuna Lifetime Achievements Award.

"ARGENTINA’S BANKING SECTOR IS EXTREMELY UNDER-PENETRATED WITH ONLY 15% OF LOANS-TO-GDP."

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT BANCO MACRO?

 

Banco Macro is the youngest private Argentine bank and one of the leading banks in the country, concerning margins, profitability, efficiency and equity. As of today, we have 8.3% loan market share, 445 branches across the country and we rank 4th place in terms of assets. We started as a small financial company in the mid 70’s and became a wholesale bank in the mid-80’s. Just before the Tequila crisis, in 1994, we turned into a retail bank and we took advantage of the consolidation process that happened in Argentina between 1995 and 2000. We bought some provincial banks in the north of the country and also some assets and branches of those banks that left the system. In 2001, we bought Banco Bansud, a bank that belonged to Citibank. Finally, in 2004 and 2006, we bought two regional banks, Banco Suquía and Bisel, respectively, which were located in the center of Argentina. Therefore, we are a story of both organic and inorganic growth and we have 80% of our branches outside Buenos Aires.

 

Even though we are a universal bank, we focus on low to middle-income individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises. We are market leaders in consumer banking with personal loans market share of 14%. Our loan mix in 60% consumer lending (personal loans and credit card loans) and 40% commercial lending. As a result of our payroll strategy, today 93% of our personal loans are tied to payrolls which has been extremely important for our excellent asset quality standards. As of today, we have only 1.3% of NPL to total loans ratio and above 150% of coverage ratio.

 

THE RECENT USD 766 MILLION SHARES OFFERING WILL ALLOW BANCO MACRO TO FUND THE EXPANSION OF CREDIT DEMAND AND TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF POTENTIAL ACQUISITION OPPORTUNITIES. WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?

 

We foresee a lot of potential in Argentina’s banking industry and believe that we have to be prepared for more years of sustainable economic growth, which will imply high growth rates for domestic credit. In addition, we firmly estimate that there will be more consolidation in the banking industry and we will consider every opportunity that can increase value to our shareholders. Our target is to be “the Argentine leading bank”, increasing in size but keeping our excellent standards in profitability, efficiency and asset quality. These items are in Banco Macro’s DNA and will continue going forward.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FORECAST FOR THE BANKING SECTOR WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

 

Argentina’s banking sector is extremely under-penetrated with only 15% of loans-to-GDP. In the late 90’s, we reached 25% nose-diving to a level of 8% during the 2001 crisis. Consequently, there is a huge room for growth if we compare to other Latin American countries. Banks are the main actors of this process and we have been extremely active during the last 15 years.

 

We believe that Argentina’s banking sector will be one of the winners of this growth process and we forecast that we can go back to 25% of loans to GDP in the next 5 to 7 years. After many years of lack of investment in Argentina, we are forecasting an increase in loan demand across all the sectors of the economy. We expect that energy, construction and infrastructure sectors will be those showing the highest amount of investment and growth potential.

 

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FINAL MESSAGE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN ARGENTINA?

 

Since Banco Macro’s listing at the NYSE in 2006, we have been partners with investors interested in participating in Argentina’s economic growth through our ADRs.After the last primary equity offering carried out in June 2017, our ADR liquidity has increased substantially making it easier for investors to build up their positions. Furthermore, Banco Macro was also very active in the international capital markets. In November 2016, the bank has priced a 10-year, subordinated Tier 2 USD 400 million bond notes with a coupon of 6.75%. Then, in April 2017, it issued the only 5-year, peso-linked USD 300 million bond notes, with a fixed interest rate of 17.5%. Both transactions were oversubscribed by more than two times, showing the great interest of the investors’ community in Banco Macro and Argentina.

 

In addition, we participate in different investor relations events in the US and Europe in order to be in direct contact with international institutional investors.We invite those investors that want to participate of a long-term growth to visit our Investor Relations Department area available at our website and find all the necessary information regarding Argentina’s banking sector.