Nacional Monte de Piedad trusts Diligent
Nacional Monte de Piedad is part of the identity of the Mexican people. The oldest financial institution in the country, it was founded on February 25, 1775, in Mexico City – formerly the capital city of Nueva España – by Don Pedro Romero de Terreros, Count of Santa María de Regla. For 240 years it has continuously given financial assistance to economically underprivileged sectors by means of pledge loans.
GETTING TO DILIGENT
The top ruling body of Nacional Monte de Piedad (a private assistance, non-profit institution since 1922) is the board of trustees, tantamount to the board of directors, composed of seven outstanding Mexicans. Pedro Romero de Terreros Gómez Morín, descendant and representative of the Romero Terreros family, acts as trustee secretary since 2010. In 2015, Nacional Monte de Piedad initiated the transition to Diligent. “We have had three main stages in management of information,” he says. “A few years ago we would handle a sheer volume of paper, from 7,500 to 10,000 sheets; every month they needed to be printed out to be delivered to the members of the board of trustees and the five committees, each with five members on average, that form part of the
corporate government. There are four to five meetings monthly. Besides the folders of 200-300 sheets of paper each, part of the work was to ensure that they would read them and then keep that material safe.”
Like many other companies that have not discovered yet the service of Diligent, three years ago Nacional Monte de Piedad retained a company that would develop an application to use iPad specifically. “However, the kind of support and maintenance they could provide was always limited and restricted to support to one single application,” Pedro Romero de Terreros admits. “Almost ten months ago, when arriving to one of the meetings of the board of trustees we were surprised at seeing that the application would not work. You can imagine we were terrified when we realized that nobody could get access to the information stored in the application in electronic format. It was then that a new trustee of the institution recommended us Diligent and we made the transition immediately.”
SATISFACTION AND SIMPLICITY
Nowadays, for us, it is the easiest way of distribution and control,” Pedro says. “We are sure that the information is encrypted, we are sure that we are one out of thousands of clients, and we trust a company dedicated only to this application.”
Pedro Romero de Terreros thinks that the adaptation to the new application was very fast, and that, opposite to expected, it goes beyond native skills with technology. “It doesn’t have to do with age. We have some members between 75 and 80 years old highly proficient in technology, whereas some of us, in our forties, sometimes battle with it. But, as a whole, most of us take from 12 to 20 minutes to start using the application. Diligent gave us remote training for a couple of hours and it was relatively quick.”
“Now, our meetings are totally paperless. Every one brings their device to the meeting and, while we review the information, the presentation is projected with a conventional projector. Users can take notes in the system and when we update the application, all of us have the same information instantaneously. Furthermore, the minutes of the board of directors or the board of trustees are completely kept in digital format, and the resolutions of two, three, five years ago can be found easily. We do not need to worry about the storage, as it is unlimited.”
LAW, ASSESSMENT AND RELIABILITY
Every trustee of Nacional Monte de Piedad should take part in at least any one of the five committees, that is: 300 to 400 hours yearly in management tasks. “All the members have another job that take up most of their day and time,” Romero de Terreros says. “For us, it is a must for all members to read the information. We negatively rank those who arrive in the meeting and have not read what is prepared; they are even penalized during annual assessments.”
In Mexico, the National Commission of Banks and Securities (CNBV) is the regulatory and monitoring authority of the entities that are parties to the financial system. Nacional Monte de Piedad is not a company listed in any stock exchange; therefore, it is not under the CNBV jurisdiction. However, its policy abides by the best practices set forth by the law, which is increasingly stiffer. Romero de Terreros explains that the members of the board of trustees have a legal responsibility on the company management, and such responsibility can lead to criminal or civil litigation (where their privately held estate is at risk). “As members of the board of trustees, we need to respect and care for the so-called ‘duty of loyalty, duty of care and duty of knowledge.’ It is very important, with the latter, to have the information available at any time. In addition, there is always somebody interested in your information: nowadays, we have 60% of the market in Mexico.” According to data from the National Association of Pawnshops (Anace), the market of pledge loans in Mexico is estimated at 35 billion pesos and covers the population with little or no access to bank services. Nacional Monte de Piedad pools five million clients apportioned among more than 310 branch offices throughout the country. “Like any financial institution, trust is the fundamental principle.”
SECURITY AND TECHNOLOGY
“Losing an electronic device is very easy; however, based on our tests, there is no way to break the cryptographic seal,” Pedro Romero de Terreros says. Nonetheless, Nacional Monte de Piedad trusts in Diligent infrastructure, which does not use third-party servers, but servers of its own, with physical locations in the United States, Canada, and Germany. “In this way, our IT director can focus on solutions for customers instead of advisors.”
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