How a Brazilian Fintech is becoming a global player.
Banco Inter, transformed from a traditional bank in Brazil into an emerging global bank with innovative financial products.
This is not a typical start-up story, and more of a case study on how a traditional bank leveraged emerging technology and changing consumer trends to become a hot Fintech company offering innovative products that led Softbank to invest in company in 2019.
Banco Inter (Not be confused with Bankinter, a Spanish Bank) pioneered in offering digital accounts to individuals in Brazil. Allow it to grow from a small traditional financial firm to a top Brazilian Fintech with a global expansion plan.
Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America, with a population of 214M people. The closest market would be Mexico, with a population of 130M. In fact, there are more people in Brazil connected to the internet, 133M, than people living in Mexico, which only have 84.5M connected online.
Many start-ups would be happy to become the main offering in their local market, let alone in a nation as big as a country the size of Brazil. Not for the Banco Inter team, led by João Vitor Menin, who understands the opportunity of expanding globally is a much bigger for the company.
The exponential growth it experienced is easily explained by the impact the novelty caused. In Brazil, opening a bank account was a tiring business. Banks often required a big amount of documents, and once the account was opened more headaches would come: many services required in-person visits and queueing up in lines, for a time often longer than 1 hour. Bank websites were still quite limited.
The Inter accounts could be opened and fully accessed on any regular mobile. Without the need for any in person appointment at a traditional bank branch. This allowed many people who never had a bank account to set one up. In a country with 214 million inhabitants, only 40% had a bank account.
Banco Inter started its history in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte as a modest financial firm in 1994, still under the name of Intermedium CFI financing institution.