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Crèdit Andorrà – Andorra’s Pioneers in Digitalisation and Social Responsibility

Credit Andorra Headquarters 1 - Global Banking | Finance

Crèdit Andorrà is a global financial services group. It is a market leader in Andorra and has a presence in other leading financial centres in Europe and America, such as Spain, Luxembourg and Miami. Internationally, Crèdit Andorrà offers personalised and specialised private banking and asset management services. We talked to Xavier Cornella, the CEO of Crèdit Andorrà Financial Group, following the organisation’s awards from Global Banking & Finance Review for the Best CSR Bank and Best Digital Bank in Andorra in 2020.

We began by asking Xavier about Crèdit Andorrà’s strategy for the upcoming year. “Our strategy is based on three broad pillars: one, the development of strategic alliances to continue growing and expanding the value offer; two, the focus on digital transformation and innovation to improve excellence in customer service, and three, the specialisation in products and services that increase our differentiation and added value,” he explained. “All this, with sustainability at the core of the management model and business strategy, and with the customer always at the heart of our activity.”

Xavier Cornella CEO Crèdit Andorrà Financial Group

Xavier Cornella, CEO, Crèdit Andorrà Financial Group

“We are currently in the process of unifying our brand internationally. The new brand, Creand, responds to a future strategy for the Group as a whole, focused on consolidating our leadership in Andorra — where we are pioneers in innovation and customer service — and on continuing to grow in the major financial centres in which we operate. This rebranding is a commitment to transformation and innovation, which will allow us to grow and face the challenges of the future, in order to respond to the new needs of our customers and society in general.”

Meeting customer needs in new ways has certainly been aided by the advances being made in technology. “Crèdit Andorrà is pioneering in financial digitalisation in Andorra. Our strategy encompasses digital services that have enabled us to advance towards a more convenient and agile form of banking that is prepared for the future,” Xavier said. “In Andorra, we are pioneers in the creation of digital solutions that enhance the customer experience and are rooted in the commitment to sustainability. In this regard, we have led the implementation of mobile payments and robo-advisors, developing an innovative, 100% digital investment fund advisor. Our commitment to improving the experience of our customers has been seen in the exponential growth of digital banking.”

“In terms of entrepreneurship, we have launched the first business hyperacceleration programme in Andorra. The aim of this programme is to finance innovative technology projects and to position Andorra as a suitable environment for the development of entrepreneurial and international projects.”

Increased digitalisation brings with it other advantages, including the ability to avoid an extensive interruption to services under unprecedented circumstances, such as the impact of COVID-19. “Our principal commitment has been and continues to be to people. In this regard, the priority aim from the outset has been to protect the health of our employees, customers and providers, while ensuring compatibility with the continuity of the banking business,” Xavier told us. “To do this, we offer responsible, specific and coordinated solutions to continue providing the service to customers with the utmost guarantees.”

“We have maintained the face-to-face service at our branches at all times, adapting our facilities to comply with safety and prevention measures, while also activating remote work for the rest of our employees. The drive to digitalise our services and the use of alternative remote contracting channels, such as telephone banking, has enabled our customers to continue carrying out their banking transactions as normal.”

“In addition, we have maintained an open, constant and transparent line of communication with our customers,” he went on. “An example of this was the online sessions in which we offered our vision of the markets, investment strategies and our services adapted to new needs.”

“The bank plays a key role in economic development due to its important role in the generation of value. Our involvement in and commitment to the countries in which we operate – companies, entrepreneurs, families and society as a whole – in the current healthcare, economic and social crisis is evident. One such example is the major role of Crèdit Andorrà in the Andorran government’s extraordinary guarantee programme for companies and businesses, in which we provided 67% of the total amount of soft loans.”

Further to the support offered in times of crisis, Xavier believes that financial institutions perform an essential function in social economic development more broadly, in a way that goes beyond the great resilience and adaptability shown by the sector in the last year. “Banks facilitate the flow of money to the market, helping to encourage the efficient channelling of this money into productive projects that generate economic and social benefits for the country,” he said. “In this respect, the Andorran financial system represents 20% of the country’s GDP and employs 5% of its salaried workers. The financial sector in Andorra also shows great strength in terms of solvency ratios, which were at 17.71% for CET1 (phased-in) last year.”

Crèdit Andorrà’s particular commitment to sustainable development and corporate responsibility is evident in its actions. “Banks, as drivers of the economy, have the opportunity and the responsibility to be levers for change towards a new economic model, and to respond to what is expected of us: to contribute to the generation of social value through the generation of economic value,” Xavier said. “As such, at Crèdit Andorrà, we have pioneered the incorporation of corporate social responsibility in our management model, and we have just gone one step further by becoming a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. This is a single framework for a sustainable banking industry, developed through an innovative partnership between banks worldwide and the United Nations Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEP FI).”

“With this signature, we have now reaffirmed our position as a leader in Andorra in terms of CSR, by becoming the first bank to join this programme. It represents another step in our commitment to sustainability, and a key axis in our business and management strategy. Our goals are to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria into the traditional financial criteria of risk, liquidity and profitability.”

“We are proud that both our digitalisation strategy and our social commitment have been honoured with awards from Global Banking & Finance Review.”

The desire to drive sustainability in the financial sector is clearly a key influence on how Crèdit Andorrà operates. “It’s in our DNA,” Xavier agreed. “We have collaborated with the UNEP FI since 1998, and in 2016, we were the first bank in Andorra to join the UN Global Compact and to adopt the 2030 Agenda to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDG).”

“Another example of our commitment to leadership in sustainability is our Environmental Management System, certified under the ISO 14001 standard, which encompasses the entire value chain, from the financial activity itself to providers, employees, customers and society. At the same time, it has enabled us to introduce management criteria based on environmental efficiency, on reducing the consumption of raw materials and energy and on combating climate change. This is in addition to awareness-raising and social commitment initiatives.”

Xavier also told us about their foundation, the Fundació Crèdit Andorrà, first created in 1987. “We are the only bank in Andorra with a foundation, with determined and continuous action that has led it to become one of the main private foundations in Andorra, both in terms of the number of programmes it leads and the resources it allocates. The foundation works in the areas of education, social action and culture, with training serving as the backbone of these three fields.”

Crèdit Andorrà also places considerable value in employment development, and Xavier emphasised how its people are the bank’s biggest asset. “We have a multicultural team. Our employees represent over 29 different nationalities, something that characterises us as an inclusive company and allows us to create value through our teams of professionals.”

“We have a clear commitment to contribute to their professional development. That is why we foster and reward internal talent,” he continued. “Firstly, we encourage professional mobility within the Group, through internal selection processes that cover the Group’s needs, alignment with the business and the professional development of our people. Secondly, we have a continuous training plan, based on a business model that requires constant innovation and adaptation to the environment. Our training plan, as well as the development of technical skills and abilities to help employees carry out their everyday work, is adapted to a changing environment and generates a positive impact on the quality of customer service.”

Furthermore, the organisation offers a number of social benefits to its employees. “In terms of our policy on work-life balance, we have recently included new criteria for flexibility in the organisation of the working day in order to increase efficiency and strengthen our employees’ pride of belonging,” Xavier explained. “In addition, we opened the doors of the bank to young students with the aim of promoting training, creating a link between university and the world of work and identifying young talent.”

Global Banking & Finance Review


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