There are many reasons why Latin America is the hottest region on the planet right now for fintech innovation. Venture capital dollars are pouring into the region like never before, 50% of the 630 million in the region are unbanked or underbanked, there is a strong entrepreneurial culture, the banking oligopolies in the region don’t serve their customers well and the penetration of smartphones means the population is ready to embrace digital finance. These are just some of the things I learned this week at FINNOSUMMIT Miami by LendIt Fintech.
LendIt Fintech partnered with Finnovista, who have been doing Latin American fintech events for several years, to bring the first ever LendIt event dedicated to this region. We just wrapped up two successful days with over 700 fintech enthusiasts at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami. The place was buzzing on both days and dozens of people came up to me and told me how glad they were that LendIt finally decided to have an event for this region. It was also an opportunity for me to meet many of the leading players in person and immerse myself in the challenges and opportunities of the region. Below are some of the highlights from the keynote stage.
We kicked off the event with Sergio Furio, the CEO and founder of Creditas, the leading Brazilian consumer lender that earlier this year received $231 million in equity funding from Softbank. Sergio said they decided to focus on secured lending because it is hard to automate and he saw an opportunity to create a differentiated company. He provided a unique perspective on why banks should work with fintechs – they are basically getting free innovation. Creditas has major ambitions as they expand into Mexico and introduce new lending products. They are even looking beyond finance to offer ancillary products. He ended with this: “The bank of the future is not going to be the bank of the past with a digital interface, it will look very different.” [Read more…]