Chile has a boom in people opening new USD checking accounts

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The boom of checking accounts in dollars in Chile continues unabated: over 100,000 accounts were opened during the first quarter. There was a 400% growth in openings during the first three months of the year in the corporate segment.

According to Bloomberg data, Chileans are still firmly embracing the dollar, despite the US currency depreciating nearly 8% so far this year.

According to the latest statistics published by the Financial Market Commission (CMF), over 104,000 openings of checking accounts in dollars were made during the first quarter of 2023, representing a 124% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

By the end of March, there were 632,427 checking accounts in dollars in the banking system, a 119% increase compared to the previous year.

The demand for this product is also shaping the industry. Currently, checking accounts in dollars account for 7.4% of the total checking accounts in the banking system, marking a 3.5 percentage point growth in the last 12 months.

When looking at the type of customers opening accounts in dollars, individuals lead the way with 86,575 new accounts during the first quarter, more than double the number opened in 2022. As of March, there were 493,442 dollar accounts, showing a year-on-year increase of 152%.

The corporate segment has also shown a strong interest in this product. Between January and March of this year, 17,947 accounts were opened, almost a 400% increase compared to the previous year.

With this growth, the universe of this product for corporate entities reached 138,985 accounts, representing a 49.4% increase compared to March 2022.

According to a study published last year by Moody’s, Chile is the second least dollarized banking market in Latin America, with around 18% of deposits.

Competition in the industry:

Since last year, different banks have been competing to lead this business, which is currently dominated by Santander and Scotiabank, holding 39.4% and 35.4% of the individual accounts market, respectively.

Santander Chile opened 24,362 dollar accounts during the first quarter, a 20.1% increase compared to the previous year. Additionally, the bank’s customer base grew by 200% last year.

Meanwhile, the Canadian firm became the bank that opened the highest number of dollar checking accounts for individuals during the first three months of the year, with 44,731 accounts. This represented a 138% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Furthermore, the North American bank’s customer base grew by 120% in the last 12 months.

The third position is contested by Banco de Chile and Itaú.

Source: Mathew Saywell

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