Costa Rica: Populism in the banking sector

While financial regulators want to increase the quality of banks' management with better qualified managers, a bill intends to reduce the demands of professionalism for a "popular" bank.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The intention of six members in reforming the Organic Law of the People's Bank (Banco Popular) and Community Development (BPCD) is to increase control of the union on the bank's management which is "... moving away from sound banking practices and is worrying not only from a point of view of financial supervision, but because it jeopardizes the savings of workers" according to the statement by the National Council of financial System supervision (Conassif) published by La Nacion.

One of the most controversial points of the reform is that three of the seven members of the Board of the bank would not need a bachelor's degree. "... The reform would increase the likelihood that an error will occur in the management of the resources managed by Banco Popular. Having an entity that raises funds from third parties and invests them, and whose highest executive body (the Board) is not prepared and does not have the right profile, of course is akin to playing with dice " said Luis Carlos Delgado, president of Conassif to Nacion.com.

Victor Morales, representative of the Citizen Action Party (PAC), argued in the same article that "... there are farmers with sufficient knowledge to take one of those positions, there is no need for a college degree."

The National Council of Cooperatives (Conacoop) added its voice of concern to that of Conassif in regards to the populist measure, and stated that it would jeopardize the savings of 1.2 million workers.



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In order to try to stop the deceleration in the issue of loans in dollars, authorities in Costa Rica have decided to soften the rules required of banks who grant loans in this currency.

The National Council of Supervision of the Financial System (Conassif) has decided to temporarily reverse the stricter measures that banks must comply with when granting loans in foreign currency to those who generate income in Colones, with the aim of counteracting the deceleration that has been seen in the issue of bank loans.

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Costa Rica Ramps Up Pressure On Money Laundering

March 2014

Changes to the rules of the 8204 Act include the classification of customers according to risk levels and the automation of anti-money laundering controls.

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Costa Rica: Dollar Loans Up 25%

January 2013

The amount of loans in dollars taken granted by state commercial banks grew disproportionately with respect to loans in local currency and dollar loans from private banks.

This situation has worried the president of the National Council for Supervision of the Financial System (Conassif), Jose Luis Arce, both because of the risk faced by borrowers in dollars to abrupt movements in the exchange rate, as well as the impact on the deterioration of the banks' ability to pay for these debtors.

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