Banco Hipotecario: Best SME Bank Central America 2021


Banco Hipotecario (BH) was established in 1935, after a 115-year struggle by the farmers and pro-independence leaders of El Salvador for the creation of a mortgage bank. Ever since, BH has sought to make a difference to customers’ lives — while contributing to El Salvador’s productivity. It works with SMEs across the country, paying special attention to agricultural operations and micro-enterprises. Its business banking services include payment processing, working capital, debt consolidation, energy efficiency credit, overdraft protection and equipment purchase. Clients benefit from a robust digital platform and dedicated staff assistance. BH joined a national digitalisation campaign to provide MSMEs with the e-commerce tools and skills so necessary during the pandemic. Thousands of businesses across Central America have benefitted from the programme, which provides a free e-commerce page as well as virtual and face-to-face training. BH president Celina Padilla Meardi recently introduced a UN-backed initiative to increase the economic autonomy of Salvadoran women through financial, personal and professional development programmes. The bank, which is led by the president and a predominantly female board of directors, made an ideal partner. BH continues to prioritise customer convenience, and has opened a second branch of its new “café banking” concept. Customers at BH Cafés can conduct business, access wi-fi — or even borrow a digital device — while enjoying coffee and a snack. The judges present Banco Hipotecario, a repeat programme winner, with the 2021 award for Best SME Bank (Central America).

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