Interview to Ivonne Bianchi
8 junio, 2016
Ivonne Bianchi is a Venezolan who has worked in the national bank of Venezuela, and currenltly is working for Group Atapahualpa as Financial Advisor, the main contractor of the Venezuelan Governement. The company, one of the biggest on the country, has been critisized for getting a lot of contracts, producing the controversial “morralas of Chavez” (bags with the face of Chavez), or even being the instrument through wich spanish party “Podemos” would have received money from Venezolan Government.
“I met the owner of the company in the previous work ; It was my client when I held the position of Manager of International Finance in a national bank , when I finish my employment relationship asked me to work in this company.”
Patricia: How long have you worked for Atahualpa Group?
Ivonne: I have been working in the company Atahualpa Group for two years now
P: What is your position in the company ?
I.: I work as a financial advisor to prepare investment projects either creating a new business, expansion of facilities of one of our factories, launching a new product, etc. , led in most cases to apply for funding in banks or decision of the Board of the company.
P. How did you reach that position ?
I: I met the owner of the company in the previous work ; It was my client when I held the position of Manager of International Finance in a national bank , when I finish my employment relationship he asked me to work in this company.
P: Related to social responsibility, could you cite some examples of activities carried out by the company?
I: Atapahualpa Group has developed many activities regarding social responsability in very different areas. For example Talks of Information and Guidance on the beneficiary population were made about issues like the problem of domestic violence, violence against women, drugs, and conflict with children and adolescents, legal and socio-political orientation: a discussion on alternative means for dispute resolution was made. This activity included all those staff benefited from the project.
Another one would be workshops such as the workshop on self-esteem and Personal growth.
P: What product line is the most successful? Who is the client?
I: Currently The textile sector is the strong one of our company, especially in the manufacture of uniforms, school bags and backpacks.
Our customers are mostly state companies such as National bank (Banco de Venezuela, Banco Bicentenario, the Treasury, Ministry of Education, governors, and private clients.
P: Atapahualpa is a private company , an important contractor criticized sometimes for hogging most of Contracts , supposedly without need to submit to public competition procedure required by law. It is really that way ?
I: It is true that Atapahualpa gets the most of governmental concessions , this is due to the fact that our Company operates properly and offers competitive prices and services . Furthermore it is not true that it always gesta ll the concessions,. As an example of It is worth to remember September 2012, our offer for “supply of office supplies and stationery ” presented by the Contractor was rejected by the Government.
P: Atahualpa Group is a main contractor for the Venezuelan Government. Do you think a possible recall referendum against the Government would affect the Company? why?
I: We are a big company which has developed in different economic sectors. In case of an output of the current government, it is clear that the company would be short-term affected because most of our clients are from the public sector, however by its diversification in their products and services would keep us in business.
P: Related to your previous experience in the public banc, in which entity did you work?
I: I worked for the Treasury Bank of Venezuela.
P: Is the banking sector stable in your country?
I: Well, as in the rest of the world, it is not hundred per cent foreseable. Since 1996, after a huge crisis, it seems to have improved. The Bank Superintendency ensures the stability of this sector, mainly dominated for the private banking. Nonetheless, the Venezuelan banking system is not stable as it is currently facing risks both for assets and for liabilities. The recession and high levels of inflation play against revenue and profitability of the system .
P: Although the Venezuelan National Bank with greater capital is state-owned, (Bank of Venezuela), social capital as a whole is in the vast majority distributed in private entities . In your view, what could be the reason?
I: The Banks play different roles. A lot of people distribute money between national and private entities. But, the reason could mainly be the confidence that comes from private entities, since they are mostly bearings profitability of your business, public entities instead its main objective is to benefit society, which makes them riskier .
P: When the government returned to nationalize Banco de Venezuela , which had been before acquired by Banco Santander , revenues grew enormously. Do you believe, in general, that Venezuelan people are reticent to foreign Banks?
I: I do not consider the Venezuelan people to be reticent to foreign banks , what happened was that by becoming a public bank profits are directed to society , sacrificing profitability to subsidize special financing plans to underserved areas , rate subsidies interest , increased levels of banking , among others. In addition, the national government ordered public institutions to transfer their fund private banks to state banks, which allowed their incomes grow enormously.
Thank you Ivonne, for your time and for giving us a closer perspective of Venezuela´s situation.
Interviewer: Patricia García Blázquez