Financial services gain human touch in Mexico

Back in the fifties, Mifel was a small company servicing SMEs on financial strategies. Later on, it began to grow a small fund to operate with and eventually obtained the first private concession for an exchange house in Mexico back in the tumultuous and complicated eighties. In 1993, Mifel set up a leasing company and in that same year Grupo Financiero Mifel was born, a step that paved the way for the concession of one of the first new private banking licenses to be granted since the industry was nationalised in Mexico back in 1982. In 2003, the group introduced a new management team led by Daniel Becker and several very talented members of a new generation.

The institution then went through a period of change that put it at the forefront of Mexico’s financial sector in terms of the quality of its top-flight services, products and the highest standards of excellence. Mifel’s is among México’s most demanding clientele, something very much appreciated by the team since it keeps it persevering at what it does best so as to constantly improve on it.

Mifel’s name stems from the first letters in both the given and family name of Mifel’s founder: Mike Feldman. He was a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist. Three generations later, the companies he set to build are solidly growing and still run by the family, regardless of institutionalisation. Since those days, Mifel is a customer service oriented company. Although this is a common theme among many institutions today, Mifel’s establishment of the perspective dates back to the company’s inception.
Growth to date
Today, Mifel is a full bank with more than 50 products and services, such as electronic banking, ATM’s, credit and debit cards etc. It consists of a bank, a factoring company, a leasing company and an investment portfolio management team. Mifel’s factoring company was created to provide liquidity to the suppliers of retail chains through any bank, which together with its strategy of innovation and service quality has allowed the institution to be a leader in the field. On the leasing side, Mifel has been steadily growing given its much diversified portfolio of customers in several areas, while its investment manager role is supported by 20 proprietary funds and 32 more that Mifel co-distributes from eight other financial firms. This allows Mifel to offer satisfactory returns to its clients and help them pursue their investment objectives.

On the banking side, Mifel has a strong and innovative physical presence in 32 banking outlets in the country, most of them in Mexico City which is of course the country’s economic and financial centre of gravity. Besides that, it has 16 bank modules widely distributed throughout the country and oriented specifically to the agricultural business sector, an area with great success and even more potential. Today, Mifel is the fifth largest distributor of federal farm funding in the country, a position it has steadily seen rising in the past few years.

Overall, Mifel Financial Group assets for the end of 2009 are $2.5bn, of which the majority is supported by its own deposits provided by its stable and loyal customer base from its private banking area and its well-located and efficient branches throughout the country, all of which have an average deposit base well above Mifel’s competitor’s level. Its portfolio, meanwhile, has been growing steadily in the areas where Mifel has been concentrating its placement efforts. A very efficient distribution across several sectors diminishes risk substantially: states and municipalities, construction developers, mortgage, factoring, corporative, small and midsized companies, agribusiness and leasing. Such portfolio is roughly 85 percent in Mifel’s banking activities, 11 percent in its factoring and four percent in the leasing businesses, well guarded by a capital base that as of the end of last year stood at 16.7 percent, well above the regulatory minimum required by the authorities and which gives Mifel a good base from which to grow in the future.

Grupo Financiero Mifel is an energetic team, able to differentiate itself and provide its customers with that which they expect from any financial institution: an unwavering commitment to service and quality. Mifel’s team strives always to be successful in communicating to its customers the concept of value it provides them with, a concept that stems from a five pillar design: human capital; first rate service; banking wisdom; best available technology, and always updated infrastructure. This all has allowed Mifel not only to grow in a healthy manner throughout the last few years but also to weather the storms that the financial sector has faced worldwide in the last couple of years. Furthermore, its business model allows Mifel to look into the future with the confidence that it has the tools to be successful with.

Technology at hand
One of the main drivers of Mifel’s future results is a comprehensive technology programme that encourages efficiency and contributes to strategic product and service quality goals. At the heart of this is EVOTEC, which stands for Technological Evolution at the institution. Mifel studied six different options for a completely new and comprehensive technological platform before deciding to partner with Finacle of Infosys, an Indian company at the forefront of banking platforms worldwide.

Mifel is thus in the midst of developing its new technological coordinates, ones that represent quite an institutional revolution since it does not want growth to hamper that which distinguishes the institution: service. On the contrary, service ought to be a more tangible asset for Mifel’s customer base as the institution grows. In this regard, technological changes might not be perceived by customers as of the first day of inception, but they are nonetheless key going forward. Mifel’s new information system will transform its banking core from scratch. A decision like this is often shied away by larger, more consolidated institutions, but it was not something that Mifel could give itself the luxury to refrain from embarking upon. All processes that in one way or another touch directly Mifel’s client exposure have been readily analysed with the following objective: “to make life easier for the customer”, which is the deciding factor when dilemmas come into place; everything in favour of the client, both today and tomorrow. Mifel is thus in the 15th month in the development of its new platform and will deliver by November of this year. Mifel’s new coordinates working with its clients will be forever changed, placing Mifel in the lead in terms of quality, innovative and flexible services.

It is in the light of this major breakthrough that Mifel finds itself as recipient for the second year in a row of World Finance’s prestigious award as best private bank in Mexico. Results speak for themselves, Mifel has its mission well in focus which is “to be recognised by our capability to understand and not only care for our unique and irreplaceable base of customers through a long term integral relationship in a safe atmosphere for generations to come delivering our capacities developed through the years.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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