Nuestra Caja launched more than two decades ago with a crystal-clear goal: to deliver financial services to low-income citizens who struggle to access the resources needed to achieve economic security. In short, the cooperative (caja) aims to drive financial inclusion within Mexico and to improve the lives of its customers and their families.
In Mexico, cajas populares play a similar role to member-owned financial cooperative (caja) societies in the United States and Europe. Despite successful initiatives run by the Bank of Mexico, research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals there are still millions of people in Mexico without regular access to basic financial services. This is especially true for female citizens and those living in the south-eastern states, which is precisely where Nuestra Caja operates.
Moises Cruz Matias, President of the Board of Directors at Nuestra Caja, explains: “To succeed, we need to reach those sections of society that have been overlooked and underserved by the major banks. That means offering a service proposition that appeals to the likes of small traders, seasonal workers in rural areas, and female citizens, who favor flexible credit agreements and repayment terms.”
Making a fresh start
For Nuestra Caja, the priority is to offer high-quality, user-friendly credit, lending, savings and investment products that align with the aspirations of their target customers. The inevitable challenge is how to marry this focus on innovation with cost-efficiency to ensure that the cooperative (caja) stays competitive commercially.
As it expanded its customer base, Nuestra Caja encountered a familiar problem for financial institutions. The core systems that support its corporate and branch operations were becoming increasingly difficult to scale, manage and maintain. Nuestra Caja decided the time was right to make a clean break and implement a more advanced core platform.
“We realized that continuing with our aging systems would make it harder and harder to achieve our goals,” says Moises Cruz Matias. “We struggled to add new functionality to help us extend our offering, increase efficiency, and create a more compelling in-branch experience. To continue our growth, we looked to modernize using the latest technology.”
Pinpointing the right partner
Nuestra Caja engaged a specialist IT consultancy to provide guidance on the best core solutions available and a series of assessment benchmarks. The cooperative (caja)’s key criteria for the new solution included first-rate reliability and scalability, a clear upgrade plan to ensure access to the latest core functionality, and the availability of expert technical support to assist its development teams. Having analyzed the market, Nuestra Caja identified a standout candidate to replace its distributed legacy systems: Temenos Transact (R22). The cooperative (caja) implemented the Temenos platform across its network of 50 branches and at its corporate offices—providing capabilities for streamlined management of lending activities, greater control of credit risk, flexible product design, and standardized branch teller operations. And for the first time, the cooperative (caja) can now monitor credit risk and view account balances in real time.
Reaping the benefits
Since the initial go-live, Nuestra Caja has seen exceptional results. Take product development, for example. Previously, the cooperative (caja)’s outdated legacy applications hampered development efforts and time to market for new services. The Temenos platform simplified and accelerated this process, providing a set of flexible components that Nuestra Caja uses to create unique lending and savings products tailored to appeal to target customer groups.
“Today, we can bring a new product to market within one week, which represents a huge improvement. With Temenos Transact, we can continually evolve and refine our services, ensuring that we offer the most compelling proposition to potential customers. In fact, since we implemented the Temenos platform, we have doubled our overall customer base and seen our lending business expand by 30 percent, establishing us as a key service provider in the region.”Moises Cruz Matias, President of the Board of Directors at Nuestra Caja
Beyond these high-level business benefits, Nuestra Caja can also rest assured that it has a robust core platform in place that will keep its operations running round-the-clock without the risk of disruption. What’s more, the Temenos solution provides a clear upgrade path, ensuring the cooperative (caja) can continue to enhance the capabilities of the core platform. And by standardizing operations on a single, proven platform, Nuestra Caja eliminated the cost and effort of maintaining multiple legacy systems.
Fostering collaboration and knowledge transfer
Working with Temenos also yields another valuable outcome for Nuestra Caja: an annual invite to the Temenos Community Forum. The cooperative (caja) takes advantage of this opportunity to meet with leading players from the financial services world, explore the latest new software functionality and best practices, and discover how other clients are making the most of their investments in Temenos technologies.
Moises Cruz Matias continues: “As a relatively small player in the financial services industry, the chance to gain insights from the global leaders is really valuable to our ongoing growth strategy. Add to this that our internal development teams can access first-rate technical assistance and thought leadership from Temenos experts at any time to support our own innovation projects.”
As it stands today, Nuestra Caja has built a base of more than 101,000 customers, 93 percent of which are women.
“Our partnership with Temenos has been integral to our success in bringing financial services to more and more low-income Mexicans. We would recommend Temenos to any other cooperative (caja) or bank considering how to transform their core systems today. You can feel confident in the expertise of their consultants and the quality of their solutions—you will not regret your decision.”Moises Cruz Matias, President of the Board of Directors at Nuestra Caja