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Ángel Sierra: “Fintech is financial inclusion, it is better services and, in some cases, cheaper”

First explain to the people what is a fintech?

A fintech in this association, because each country and each association has its definition, we understand it as a non-traditional company and leveraged in the technology that provides or contributes to the provision of financial services. Fintech has 13 types of businesses like crowdfunding (collective financing), payment processors, categories that are pigeonholed in the definition that I told you.

How are fintech companies in Chile?

Knowing the profile of the entrepreneur fintech of the association, I can tell you that he is a person who already worked in a corporation, not just recent graduates, professionals, several with postgraduate degrees, several former banks (…) is a professional prepared, beyond the 32 to 35 years old and with knowledge of the financial world.

Today people can go to a bank and ask for a credit or open an account. What kind of services are fintech offering today?

For the ordinary citizen, I would say that there is still no issue of accounts and that is fine, because it is a faculty that has banking, but I can tell you that people today can find Fintonich, that within an application you consolidate all your accounts of all the banks that you have and in a single screen, and you will be guided by what good practices you are having or should correct. We also have the prepaid cards that are on the way, to make your purchases online and not necessarily be in a bank.

And I would say that it should come in the coming years, something that is a trend in Brazil and in Europe, which are the “Challenger banks”, which challenge banks, full digital made by entrepreneurs. Chile has not arrived, but it should happen, it is the future.

The fintech that can be most recognized in Chile are the cryptocurrency operators or exchange for the famous bitcoin that has been made, which are precisely in a lawsuit against the banks in the Free Competition Tribunal, how do they see the dispute from the association? ?

We understand that the bank can feel that someone is approaching and that everyone wants to take care of their business, that is normal (…) On the other hand, what happens, what is being said is that there is a risk in the crypto, which Is the reality of the companies of the association? All the money that enters these exchanges of the association fintech is via transfer, that is to say that first it passed through the bank, so if a bad money was leaked, first it entered the bank before the fintech. On the other hand, the exchanges have high standards of operation (…) We want to know how the cause evolves, but on behalf of the fintech there is total tranquility.

Now the issue of bitcoin, people unfortunately used it badly, was taken as a speculative tool, where everyone wanted to become a millionaire. We know that easy money does not exist. It inflated a value that fell and people were discouraged, but the reality is that a cryptocurrency has much more functionality, is a tool of value transfer. You can send 100 dollars from Chile to Colombia via cryptocurrencies and it cost you a penny, on the other hand, if you send the same US $ 100 via bank, they charge you a 30% toll plus the 5% commission; 35% for US $ 100 versus one cent via cryptocurrencies. The benefits are enormous.

The argument of the banks to criticize the exchanges is the lack of regulation for them. An executive of her told me once that it was not needed, what does the association think?

Regardless of who made that comment, time has passed, the mentality has changed. Today the association is a friend of regulation, we know that it gives legitimacy to an industry, as long as it is well done. There are regulations that can stall an industry or that can boost it. Today we see the case of Mexico, where the regulation came out and it was not all good or bad, but investors are moving towards fintech and people are increasingly consuming their services. Then regulation, welcome, security for the user, as long as it is balanced, because you can not put the regulation of a bank to a fintech, because they are different things.

And how they see the positions from the State, which is who has to do the regulation. the dissonant positions that exist between the Minister of Economy and the Ministry of Finance, are you worried that there will not be a single look?

Yes, we are definitely very confused because they are different looks. We are not seeing the eyes of a Government, but of entities, then Economy sees them good, Treasury we do not know, the Central Bank also has its eyes, the Commission for the Financial Market has another and in the end we do not know, as Government, what there is. One reality is that today the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have already generated a manifesto that says ‘countries of the world, welcome them to fintech and embrace them, they are financial inclusion’ (…) It would be good to know what is the unified position of the Government .

I mentioned Mexico, but are there other countries in Latin America that are better off facing the fintech than Chile?

Mexico is already a separate case, Colombia is taking important steps as a decree for banks to invest in fintech and begins to be close. In fact, the fintech association of Colombia managed to overcome this issue of competence and, beyond the relationship, is what that implies and is that it is already formally accepted that fintech are part of the financial system. Here we are in that process. Argentina is very particular, it has not regulated, but it has a ‘theory of tomatoes’ that they call them, and it is ‘let them grow and when the big tomato is and we see if it is good or bad to know what to do with it’ , then the proliferation of fintech is advancing, which we do not know if it is good or bad, but yes, surely there are countries that move faster than Chile in terms of fintech.

What is the potential of fintech companies in Chile? What is it that we have not yet seen? We are talking about cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding, but what else is there?

Curiously enough, maybe we do not feel it so much in the city, but I tell you that crowdfunding platforms are now in regions giving loans to those that the bank closed the door, that is financial inclusion, it is economic development and the fintech have a grain of sand to contribute to economic growth. What we are not seeing, but it’s already happening, look at the wallets or electronic wallets like Rappi Pay that will take the ATM to your house, that is, the money arrives at your house and that, in the end, is a better experience for people, those are benefits, because fintech is financial inclusion, it is better services and, in some cases, cheaper. Then those three things are already beginning to happen and they are going to increase.

Also published on Medium.

Published inFintech

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