Banco de Ahorro y Crédito ADOPEM, S.A. (Adopem Bank) is a financial institution that was set up to support Responsible Productive Finance in the Dominican Republic.
It began operating as a bank in 2004, although it has been providing microcredits for nearly three decades as an NGO. It has been a member of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation groups of institutions since 2012.
Banco Adopem is committed to the most disadvantaged segments of society and micro-entrepreneurs, overseeing a set of programs and projects that have major socioeconomic impact, in vulnerable areas and regions that are difficult to access.
Its mission and vision are focused on incentivizing businesses that promote their clients’ development by providing products and services designed for their needs. On the whole, the bank’s clients are involved in the production and sale of foodstuffs, making clothes and footwear, arts and crafts, machine-work businesses, carpentry and services provision, among others. Banco Adopem relies on the daily commitment of its 1,190 employees to bring the economic and social development of its clients to fruition.
Because it clearly prioritizes towards the most disadvantaged groups, it has succeeded in winning as clients micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the most vulnerable parts of the country, thanks to its footprint in over 94% of the nation, with 70 branch offices and 85 banking subagents.
In 2010 the bank was chosen for the second consecutive year by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as the “Bank of Excellence in Microfinance” in Latin America and the Caribbean, emerging as a model institution in the region for its compliance with international guidelines and regulations.
Banco Adopem is a synonym for transparency, compliance, responsibility, engagement and institutional development. It is fortunate to have the support of national and international institutions and entities with which it has established strategic alliances and agreements over its years of experience, all of which have helped it to achieve the goals and targets it sets itself.
In 2015 Banco Adopem retained its long-term national rating of A+ (dom) with positive outlook and its national short-term rating was ratified at F1 (dom) by Fitch Ratings. It also continues to hold the first place in the Asset Ranking among Savings and Loan Banks in the Dominican Republic, with a market share of 22.27%.
Executive & Business Vice-President
Vice-President, Finance & Accounts
Vice-President, Operations & Administration
Juan Francisco Terrero
Vice-President, Technology & Communications
Credit & Branch Network Manager
Integrated Risk Manager
General Accounts Manager
Human Resources Manager
Finances & Treasury Manager
María Estela Terrero
Insurance Administration Manager
Credit Recoveries Manager
Infrastructure & IT Security Manager
José Luis González
Development & Database Manager
General Office Manager
Legal Affairs Manager
José Antonio Colomer
Mercedes de Canalda
Director & Company Secretary
Pedro Luis Saiz
Manuel Ricardo Canalda
Director & Treasurer
Banco Adopem has concentrated its efforts in 2015 on contributing to the progress of disadvantaged communities, low-income women and rural producers in the Dominican Republic
Its micro-financing model has enabled 4,500 women to access a sustainable business model. Increasing the number of sub-agents has meant that vulnerable sectors that are not served by the formal financial system can access products and services in order to develop their small enterprises.
Banco Adopem has kept its ALPHA PLUS (α+) trending Stable financial rating, according to MicroRate’s report, achieving the highest possible assessment on this scale, the only microfinance institution to do so. Furthermore, the institution has retained its Social Classification at 4 and a half stars, with stable outlook, while in the Social Outcome and Commitment categories it was classed as Excellent. The figures come from the MicroRate report, the first ratings agency to measure performance and risk in microfinance institutions (MFI). MicroRate, which also rates specialist funds, known as microfinance investment vehicles (MIV), reports that Banco Adopem has excellent microcredit positioning and is the leading sector player, employing best practice and that its staff is trained to help low-income entrepreneurs, all of which has enabled the institution to score the highest possible institutional rating.
Fitch has confirmed its ‘A+(dom)': Positive Outlook’ rating for Banco Adopem. Fitch noticed the bank’s high yields, its healthy credit portfolio, robust capitalization, limited revenue diversification, diversified sources of financing and ample liquidity.
Banco Adopem was awarded the MIX certificate for Transparency and Responsibility. The Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) recognized the bank’s transparency, its social commitment and responsibility. This qualification was obtained after a desktop review of its social performance and having verified that the bank successfully complies with all the S.T.A.R (Socially Transparent and Responsible) requirements in 2014.
Banco Adopem was awarded the Client Protection Certificate granted by The Smart Campaign. It is the first institution in the Dominican Republic to obtain this certification , the result of an independent, external evaluation to publicly honor financial institutions that provide financial services to people of low income households that meet high standards of care in their relationship with customers in areas such as price transparency, fair and respectful treatment , and prevention of over-indebtedness.
The Executive President of Banco Adopem was elected member of the management board of the Dominican Microfinance network REDOMIF.
Mercedes de Canalda, Vice-President of the Board and founder of Banco Adopem was awarded the “Dominican Women’s Medal of Merit” by the President Danilo Medina.
Forbes magazine designated Mercedes Canalda as one of the “25 most powerful women in the Dominican Republic”, ranking in 17th place.
The Executive President of Banco Adopem was elected as a member of the management board of the Asamblea de Bancos Abancord, the country’s banking association.
Unlike countries in South America, the external conditions affecting the Dominican Republic in 2015 were favorable, and in particular, the solid economic performance in the US which allowed the boom in the tourism sector to continue, together with remittances and exports from the country’s free-trade zones. The drop in raw material prices, mainly oil, with its sharp impact on energy prices generally, as is typically the case in island economies, also had a positive impact given that the country is a net importer of these goods.
In this favorable environment, the Dominican economy grew 7%, driven by construction which expanded by 18.2%, essentially thanks to the execution of civil road infrastructure and the building of new social housing, as well as school campuses, children’s daycare centers and hospitals on the part of the central Government.
The services sector grew by 6,3% because of buoyant trade performance which leapt up by 9,1% and sectors linked to tourism, which grew by 6,3%. The sectors which suffered the opposite effect were mining and extractive industries, which slumped by 6,9%, due to the temporary shutdown of operations in one of the country’s biggest mining companies in the first half of the year, and other difficulties in other operations.
Another poorly performing sector was farming; as a result of the long drought in the Dominican Republic in 2015, growth was slashed by half compared to previous years.
On the demand side, the increase in public consumption and investment were expansionary factors, while exports of goods and services also behaved positively, mainly due to the companies operating in free trade zones, apparent in the momentum in exports of tobacco manufactures, medical and surgical equipment production, textiles and electrical goods among others.
Good performance in the US labor market, the source of 75% of all remittances, especially in the sectors where Dominican migrants are most numerous, such as construction, have enabled this variable to continue its ascent, with accumulated growth of nearly 50% since 2010, at around USD 4.9 billion in 2015, 6,8% above the figure for 2014.
Meanwhile, tourism has continued its upward momentum, with the number of visitors rising by 10% over the year, coming in at nearly 5.6 million, generating foreign exchange revenues of around USD 6.2 billion, approximately 9% higher than 2014, thus consolidating tourism as the country’s principal generator of foreign currency.
Solid results in these two sectors, together with the uptick in exports from the free trade zone, partly offset the negative impact of the 20% fall in mining exports, a product of the factors mentioned above and the 10% drop in gold prices on international markets. All in all, total exports fell by 3% in 2015.
The drop in the international oil price caused the country’s oil bill to shrink by 35%, almost USD 1.3 billion less than in 2014. This resulted in an improvement of nearly 1.2 percentage points (pp) of GDP in the current account deficit, which closed the year with a 2% deficit. This consolidates the positive trend since 2010, when the deficit was 7.5% of GDP.
Foreign direct investment came in at over USD 2.2 billion, mainly for activities relating to tourism and real estate, staying the same as the year before.
This steady result from the external sector has allowed the Dominican peso to perform better than other Latin American currencies, reporting a nominal depreciation against the dollar of 2.6% since 2014. The central bank’s policy has been one of gradually correcting real parity with the dollar, given the influence it has on Dominican finances; for this reason the real bilateral exchange rate depreciated by 2.8%, en route to convergence with parity.
Meanwhile, the fiscal scenario has been more expansionary in 2015, bringing the primary surplus to 2% of GDP. The reduction in subsidies to the electricity sector, thanks to the fall in oil price which brought losses down considerably, had the result of reducing by 12% the current-account transfers in the national budget, which offset the sharp spike in public sector wages. The capital transfer resulting from the forward flow debt purchase as part of the Petrocaribe program with Venezuela was another determining factor in the year’s public finances.
This performance, together with an improvement in revenues, has had a positive effect on fiscal management and an improvement in the country’s credit rating. However, the structural components of a fiscal management strategy that is repeatedly in deficit and still held back by major quasi-fiscal deficit items continue to represent one of the Dominican economy’s structural risk factors in the medium term.
Headline inflation has stayed below the target range of 4.0% ± 1.0% throughout 2015, a result of lower energy prices which have been partially offset by the impact of weather factors on food prices. As the impact of these factors on price variation wanes, inflation will go back on track, converging towards the target range.
However, the looseness caused by lower inflation in 2015 allowed the central bank to modify its intervention rate, which had stood unchanged at an annual 6.25% since August 2013, and it made changes twice over the year, leaving it at 5%, giving a definite expansionary slant to monetary policy which, together with its reserve policy, have encouraged credit expansion in the economy.
Turning to the labor market, the expansion of the economy resulted in the creation of around 155,189 net jobs year-on-year, which has been visible in the improved labor market in terms of the fall in unemployment, and also boosted a significant correction in real wages in large private-sector corporations.
However, there is one feature of the Dominican labor market which is no different from the other countries in the region. 50% of jobs are in the informal economy, meaning that employment is somewhat precarious and continuity difficult to predict. Together with Colombia, the Dominican Republic has the highest proportion of self-employed and/or micro-entrepreneurs in the workforce: 45 of every 100 adults in the work force are outside the formal economy.
To be able to make progress, it is crucial that access to the financial system for the majority of this excluded group be encouraged. At the moment 46 in every hundred adults have no access, and only 22 have access to formal lending. Micro-finance offers a clear route to progress here, reducing the vulnerability of significant sections of society.