November 28, 2018. Today, the BCRA approved a rule with the aim of facilitating access to the banking system. The rule authorizes some types of businesses other than banks to carry out banking transactions as if they were “correspondent banks”. They may be set up by means of agreements between banks and different networks of businesses or institutions, such as gas stations, supermarkets, pharmacies or government mail services.
The purpose of this measure is to provide people with another alternative, an easier and faster way to have access to banking services. This will allow individuals to open accounts, make term deposits and payments or take loans at places where they usually do their daily activities. The rule is in the interest of those individuals that live far from bank branches, and is a part of an improvement process to achieve better financial inclusion. On that note, the BCRA has already authorized cash withdrawals from supermarkets and other stores, transactions that, in recent months, have been on the rise.
International experience (e.g. in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia or Peru) has shown that this type of “correspondent banks” means new channels for accessing the financial system. Consequently, banking services become more inclusive, improving the quality of life of disadvantaged people and contributing to the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises. This new channel for conducting banking transactions reduces fees, boosts financial intermediation and encourages formal economy.
These new points of access to the financial system will also speed up the process through which the Argentine Social Security Administration (ANSES) pays over 14 million pensions every month; particularly in areas where pensioners can hardly access banking services due to the lack of branches of paying agents.
The rule also sets the conditions for businesses other than banks to render banking services, and expressly states that the responsibility for all such transactions lies with banks. Their responsibility also involves the observance of minimum security standards and the satisfaction of other requirements to ensure adequate and transparent banking services.
The BCRA’s resolution was approved through Communication A6603.
With this measure, the BCRA reaffirms its commitment to improve financial inclusion, seeking to provide universal access to banking services, to encourage their use, and to improve their quality.