Citibanamex sees strong opportunities in Mexico’s new payments platform CoDi – and is readying the technology to take advantage.
CoDi, short for Cobro Digital, is a new retail payments system that will facilitate free transfers and payments via QR codes. As Mexicans become more comfortable with the system, which is already being piloted in some parts of the country, cash payments are expected to fall.
More electronic transactions will make it easier for Citibanamex to offer micro loans, says Rodrigo Kuri, head of digital banking at Citibanamex.
Kuri’s optimism stands in contrast to many in Mexico’s banks who are skeptical about the CoDi project, saying that much remains to be worked out in terms of the user experience to make the system an attractive alternative to cash for small payments.
“The banks, with all the technology that we have to support the day to day transactions, we still don’t have enough information to offer microcredits, enough information to offer loans that fall outside the scope of the traditional,” Kuri said in a speech at Finnosummit Mexico last week. “This payments information that we’ll start capturing in a massive form is going to be the door to enter the world of financial inclusion in a much more decisive way.”
Citibanamex has partnered with a fintech to test out microcredits, Kuri told iupana. But in many cases the only data available has been monthly deposits into a borrower’s account, he said. CoDi could change that.
“We would have a much more granular base of interactions with clients and merchants that would give us a much more solid way of approaching a scoring model,” Kuri told iupana.
Readying the data lake
In preparation for the new data that it hopes to capture from CoDi, Citibanamex is advancing its big data capabilities.
The bank is setting up a single, Hadoop-based platform to house all transaction data. That’s a move from the previous system where information was held according to product.
“We’re moving into a big data environment,” said Kuri.
One advantage is that the bank already links all client activity to a single customer number, he said. In other countries, identifiers for the same client can vary by product.
“[The bank in] Mexico overall has been following a single thread-based customer number, almost since forever.”