Although bancolombia put a fairly low point in terms of interest rates on credit cards, 25 percent, as announced this Thursday by its president Juan Carlos Mora, the other large banks operating in the country will follow in this commitmentspecifically in the popular segments of the so-called plastic money, where on average the interests are above 40 percent.

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They will be the only consumer credit rates that the banks will adjust, since in vehicle and free investment loans the interest they will lose highs due to the alerts that the Financial Superintendency already has on that portfolio.

He The next to take this step would be Davivienda and then the other big banks will come, according to what he was able to establish TIME with sources from the financial system, who indicated that it is difficult for a decision of this nature to undermine the work being carried out by the Banco de la República in terms of containing inflation, since credit card indicators remain in good.

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Mario Pardo Bayona, president of BBVA Colombia, said that interest rates should be peaking by nowTherefore, it is expected that it will soon begin to decline in various financial products, including credit cards.

EL TIEMPO consulted several of the country’s large banking entities, Davivienda, Banco de Bogotá, Itaú, Scotiabank Colpatriain some of which the subject just is being evaluated, but no decision has been made about it, but as soon as they have concrete information about it, they say they will make it known.

As confirmed, another of the segments in which there will also be a reduction in interest rates is the microcredit, something that will be announced in the coming days and will cover all loans in this sector.

The average microcredit rates are 48.05 percent for loans of less than 25 minimum wages current legal monthly payments (smmlv) and 36.48 percent for between 25 and up to 120 (smmlv), according to current data from the Financial Superintendency.

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For purchase of social interest housing (VIS) Bancolombia also announced last week the establishment of a maximum cap of 14.15 percent annual effectiveanticipating the competition that is coming in the market in the midst of a difficult situation.

Experts point out that bank interest rates must already be reaching their highest peak.

Effects on inflation

Some market agents warned that a reduction in interest rates, such as the one announced by Bancolombia on its credit cards, could have a negative impact on the effort being made by the Banco de la República to contain the escalation of inflation, something that is not all share.

Parachute Munir Jalil, Chief Economist for the Andean Region of BTG Pactual, we will have to see the net effect of the measure, but it is possible that the increase in the use of credit cards, due to a lower interest rate, ends up being low as expected given the current economic situation.

«It is true that with a lower interest rate on its credit cards, what Bancolombia wants is to encourage the use of these instruments. However, it is also true that the disposable income of Colombians has been affected by the high prices and the expectation of higher taxes for those who earn more than 10 million monthly”, he explains.

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Luis Fernando Mejía, director of the Federarrollo study centerHe also referred to the issue and said that it is very likely that Bancolombia’s announcement will generate a cascading effect in the system and that their rates on credit cards will drop, which is healthy to the extent that there is a need for greater competition and dynamism in a market that remains highly concentrated.

He also added that an impact on inflation is limited by two factors, the first that, when thinking in real terms at a rate of 25 percent, it is still high to the extent that inflation at the end of 2023 will be around 9 percent, with which we would be talking about an interest above the real 16 percent, which is high.

Another aspect to take into account is that it is a limited measure that does not apply to all cardholders and it is possible that the increase in the use of credit cards ends up being less than expected given the economic situation that we are seeing with less than 3.9 million pesos in card quota, so it is not expected that this decision will go to energize that portfolio.

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«The quality of the portfolio must be carefully monitored, because in the end the interest rate must reflect the risk that originates from that credit operation and to the extent that the rate is below what would correspond to the credit rating. credit, because this can generate problems there in the quality of the portfolio,» Mejía pointed out

Data from the Financial Superintendence indicate that as of November 2022, the number of active credit cards in the market reached close to 16.1 million, of which more than 2.62 million are from Bancolombia; 2.25 off Scotiabank Colpatria; 2.24 from Banco Falabella and about 2 million from Tuya.

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