Excellence in leadership in Latin America 2020: Banreservas

Awards for Excellence 2020

Banreservas responded to the national state of emergency brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic by working closely with the Dominican Republic’s authorities and the central bank to keep the banking system liquid and avoid corporate insolvencies.

However, it is the bank’s work in finding a rapid solution to provide financial support to 700,000 families in extreme poverty that stands out. The Social Security Administration (ADESS) needed to create a new payments system to reach these most vulnerable citizens – and Banreservas managed to put together a solution within two weeks.

Chief executive Simón Lizardo Mezquita pulled together a working group that proposed a new national payments system that could be integrated into the existing payments ecosystem and, crucially, didn’t require physical intervention, which was critical to avoid the spread of the virus.

It also didn’t depend on the use of a mobile telephone device, since it was unclear if many of its intended beneficiaries had access to them.


Simón Lizardo Mezquita

The new system enabled the country’s national identity card to be used as a virtual credit card. In partnership with ADESS and Visa, the bank developed a virtual payment solution where the beneficiary is identified by the Social Affairs Commission with a validation code, which enabled the card to be used as an electronic wallet that receives credit twice a month.

The team managed to have the system operational – with beneficiaries accessing funds in a secure and reliable way – within the two-week project timeline.

The team also integrated 10,356 merchants from two different acquiring networks, so that families could have access to basic necessities.

This innovative programme has allowed the government to assist families in need with $187 million, while more than two million successful transactions have been processed.

Banreservas also delivered the Dominican Republic’s state payments for its furlough scheme – covering the monthly wages of more than 650,000 individuals whose companies suspended their employment due to the need for social distancing.

The speed and effectiveness of these social payments reduced the severity of the short-term impact of the pandemic on the country.

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