Surely, you have heard or seen expressions such as challenger bank, or neo bank, and other similar ones, and this, accompanied by fresh, youthful advertising that is closer to the people, definitely becomes attractive, but it is important that you keep in mind that in our country only there are 50 authorized Banks; everything else can be anything else, but it’s certainly not a bank.

Traditionally the figure of the Bank and the Banker, represents status and social recognition, who would not like to have a Bank and be a banker? It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? In reality, it is the clearest benchmark in the financial sector; and sometimes that temptation materializes in using expressions such as those cited, despite not being that type of Financial Entity.

Someone might question, so what if this happens? Especially if it is just an advertisement or interview for publicity purposes, and the answer is clear: there are important consequences. The regulatory framework that regulates Financial Entities and the services they offer, seeks, among other things, to protect the interests of their clients, and for this, there are different types of entities, regulated in turn under different laws, thus being very important that when the user believes that he contracts with a Bank, it is that, and not another type of Entity, even if it is also regulated and supervised.

We can see this purpose contemplated in the different financial legislations, where there are certain words that are restricted to be used only by Entities that have been authorized to do so, and on the contrary, prohibiting those who do not have said license to use such expressions in in order to avoid customer confusion. For example, the Law of Credit Institutions (LIC), in its article 105, expressly restricts the use of the word “bank” in Spanish or any other language, within the context of financial activity (consequently it is excepted when it refers to a blood bank, for example), falling into fault if it is used and they do not have the aforementioned authorization. Failure to comply entails administrative and even criminal responsibilities for the offender; It is not a minor issue.

The National Banking and Securities Commission publishes on its website the sanctions it imposes, historically adding up to millions in amounts that some Entities also authorized but from other sectors such as Fintech have had to pay, which for marketing reasons have used these expressions; as well as those who, without having some type of Financial Entity license, have also committed this fault.

And the most interesting thing about this is that it also happens when talking about stock market issues or popular financing, because in the corresponding legislation, there are also words with restricted use in the financial sector, but between the interest of winning the market and the generalization of the repetition that sometimes occurs in some media, is constituting the perception of normality for national users, and even more so when it comes to foreigners.

Finally, the suggestion is that when you go to contract financial services with a Fintech, Sofipo, Sofom, Bank, or other type of Financial Entity, do not do it for what it looks like or how it sounds, but for what it really is and offers you. Each of these figures has advantages and conveniences that may be right for you; Take advantage of the fact that this information can be easily and quickly verified on the official portals.

Twitter: @LBartolini

e-mail: [email protected]



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