Published and draft legislation - Colombia

Banking correspondents and Financial Inclusion

Decree 034/2015, 14th January, amending Decree 2555/ 2010

One of the mechanisms to encourage financial inclusion among low-income sectors of the population, which has been rolled out in several Latin-American countries, is the networking of credit institution correspondents. Thus, the “Correspondent Banking and Financial Inclusion: Business models in Latin America” study, prepared together with the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, and the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, has reported that banking correspondents are one of the key tools being used by the financial sector to set up channels to connect with people and provide services which offer inclusive financial solutions.

The research analysed the development of correspondent networks in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and Chile, and found that banking intermediaries in these countries have created an extensive network of correspondents, which has made a significant contribution to increasing the banking footprint in places where it would otherwise not have one.

The study points to issues that as yet are still unresolved: the enlargement of the banking correspondents’ network has been executed more as a response to the requirements of traditional banking, than as a solution for excluded markets. Nevertheless, the study highlights the enormous potential of this type of channel for financial inclusion.

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In the case of Colombia, banks have been using correspondents to offer certain financial services since 2006. Since then, additional institutions have broadened the ranks of those authorised to operate as banking correspondents; insurance companies are also now allowed to sell their products and services through the correspondent channel.