President of Grupo Financiero Ficohsa
In 2017, we witnessed how Latin America returned to the path of economic growth driven, among other factors, by Central America; a region that is celebrating several years in a row with a positive trend that we can still improve. We are demonstrating that our region has the potential to be competitive in a global investment market and to continue to strengthen trade ties with economic powers such as the United States and China.
Similarly, the global economy also made sound progress in 2017, with a significant expansion of the euro area, a stronger than expected return from the United Kingdom, strong growth in the US economy during the first three quarters of the year, a positive situation that is also repeated in China.
Based on the foregoing, Central American regional integration also advanced by leaps and bounds in 2017, despite the major political, economic and social challenges faced in the entire continent.
This outlook, which continuously evolves and transforms, will generate a new situation that is politically very complex to predict and that requires the financial sector to continue increasing its transparency levels, strengthening its financial inclusion programs and supporting the generation of development equal opportunities for all citizens.
Grupo Financiero Ficohsa has endeavored to continue contributing to the economic growth of the countries where we operate through sustainable corporate and financial performance, which has allowed us to improve the indicators that characterize our work and to advance in collaboration with our customers, groups of interest and key stakeholders.
As a result of these efforts, Banco Ficohsa leads in assets and the main indices in the banking system in Honduras, and in 2017 became the banking institution with the best results among the entire financial sector of the country. Banco Ficohsa also managed to maintain a sound position in the banking indices in Nicaragua, Panama and Guatemala.
On the other hand, Ficohsa Seguros remains the number one insurance company in Honduras and has ranks fourth place in Central America, a trend that is repeated by Ficohsa Pensiones, where the growth reported reached 48% in 2017.
In 2018, the Central American financial sector must continue to invest in transparency, in the inclusion of more sectors, generation of opportunities for small entrepreneurs and continue adjusting credit policies in order to reach those sectors that most need the support of the financial system to advance their businesses.
It is important to highlight that in Central America more than 50% of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are led by women, according to CENPROMUPE data, and therefore it is important we continue supporting women and generating products and services that fit their needs.
In Ficohsa, we recognize that the entire region is undergoing an entrepreneurial boom, where new enterprises are contributing not only to the economy of our countries, but also generating a clear purpose for the new generations, bringing them closer to success and far from violence.
This is our main commitment for 2018, to endeavor for all our clients, and, in particular, the entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, can find an ally that listens to them and understands their needs, and this way continue contributing to the social and economic development of all the countries in which we operate.