Rodrigo Bustos Deaza – Efecty
Financial inclusion: It’s a necessity for bringing people and companies into the socioeconomic mainstream. Especially in countries where much of the citizenry dwells in remote areas and thus lacks access to traditional banking.
In Colombia, that inclusionary effort is largely spearheaded by Efecty, a Bogota-based company that for nearly a quarter-century has melded technology with financial acumen—and a social commitment—to link clients with financial inclusion
through postal, financial and other services.Through Efecty, a client can buy a money order, service a bill, recharge a mobile phone or collect a subsidy. Those services and more are enabled through service points and electronic mechanisms that allow user interaction with financial institutions from accounts they hold and can access remotely.
This being a highly regulated business—and one that aspires to be Latin America’s omnichannel company for payment methods—it takes a trained eye to oversee Efecty’s legal functions. Since August 2015 that responsibility has been embraced by Rodrigo Bustos Deaza, a veteran banking lawyer who says he relishes interacting with all departments and being a positive force on the national front.
“We’re able to reach places geographically with complexities that do not interest other markets and financial entities,” he tells Vanguard in July. “This business has had a very strong exponential growth due to the levels of financial exclusion that exists in this country. But technology and innovation have always come to stay, and we cannot refuse evolution. It would be like burying the possibility of future business.”
They mean business
With Bustos ensuring data privacy, the Efecty website enables easy logins for making payments and sending money orders and checking on their status. Efecty having over 9,000 service points, there’s essentially no part of Colombia that can’t be reached.
Those paying bills can check their invoices. Those whose hobbies include online gambling can access six sites with whom Efecty has partnered. Shoppers can hasten their orders with such retailers as Novaventa, Oriflame, Offcorss, Rena Ware, Tupperware, Yanbal and many other businesses. Same goes for the renewal of service contracts with telecommunications companies.
Businesses can also access Efecty for payroll, payments, subsidies, incentives and commissions while taking confidence in its identity validation and other means of security.
Agility as vital an asset as security, Bustos says by midyear the company will have the tools to offer more digital transactions. He’s been busy ensuring the methods comply with current data privacy laws as well as anticipating what tomorrow’s might be.
“As we incorporate the logistics service in the medium of electronic commerce, the idea is to evolve in such a way that the gap is shorter,” he says. “We’re always in a stage of strategic expansion. This must happen very quickly, but since the technological evolution does not stop, we have to maintain a balance between innovation and regulations.”
Many regs to follow
Efecty’s digital model subject to regulation, it falls under the eye of the Communications Authority, which follows the policies of the Universal Postal Union, a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations. It’s just one of many institutions and associations with which Bustos engages to further his professional development.
“At Efecty I’m part of the decision-making process in which we’re constantly thinking of transactions,” he says. “But the awareness of compliance is becoming more marked every day. Society has changed certain business operating schemes, forcing them to contribute to society through inclusion.”
In this respect, he says Efecty was ahead of the game—and an ideal fit for Bustos, whose progressive ideals were imprinted during his boyhood.
Justice learned early
“As a child I had an ideal of justice,” he says. “My father is a lawyer. I was very close to the legal and judicial environment where the pure exercise of the profession is more clearly seen.”
The young Bustos took a different approach than his father, who had made his mark in criminal defense and later the judiciary. Financial and commercial law would consume the son’s interests at the National University of Colombia, where he graduated in 2005.
After practicing independently for over a year, he began a stretch of nearly eight years with BMC Bolsa Mercantil de Colombia, starting as a senior lawyer and working his way to legal director.
At this forum for commodities trading, he immersed himself in such areas as securities, rights and derivatives contracts, whose underlying goods could be traded under regulations governing their activities. Job demands notwithstanding, Bustos still found a way toward the end of his tenure there to enhance his credentials in financial legislation with a master’s degree from the University of the Andes.
Before Efecty, he spent five months in 2015 as senior lawyer for financial law and insurance at the Social Foundation, parent entity of Banco Caja Social and Colmena Seguros (financial institutions in Colombia). Though just a short stretch, Bustos says what he learned complemented his experience in corporate legal and administration, merger and acquisitions transactions, public and private contracting, among other matters.
And having had role models as a boy, Bustos hopes to do the same with his son, inspiring him to achieve his dreams.
“I play soccer with him, help him with his homework, we do the dishes together and every day he surprises me with his ingenuity,” Bustos says. “What we do as parents, the children replicate. Parents are a powerful example for children.”
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