Business

Another Brazilian bank abroad? Bradesco is considering going international with its digital banking arm

Bradesco has been beefing up its digital banking arm in recent years and now operates three brands: Next, Digio and Bitz

Brazil's Bradesco is considering going international with its digital bank
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At a time when fintechs like Nubank are challenging the big banks in Brazil and expanding across Latin America, the Brazilian bank Bradesco is considering expanding its digital banking operations to countries like the United States and Mexico. The information was brought out by the institution’s CEO, Octavio de Lazari, in a conference call with analysts. “We have many opportunities that we will explore,” he said.

Bradesco‘s digital banking operation currently involves three brands: Next, Digio, and Bitz. Lazari said that, for now, there are no plans to integrate them, as this could harm customer acquisition strategy. He added that the bank’s credit card unit in Mexico – where it has 2.8 million customers – has performed well and could be used as a platform for a digital bank.

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Bradesco has been bolstering its digital banking arm in recent years. The most recent step was done in October, when Bradesco has bought a 49.99% stake in the digital bank Digio that belonged to Banco do Brasil for BRL 625 million, now holding 100% of the digital bank.

In a statement to the market, Bradesco informed that the transaction is in line with the bank’s strategy of investing in digital companies, diversifying its operations, and reaching different audiences, with different business models.

The e-wallet Bitz started operating in September last year, and in September of this year it was the second most downloaded digital wallet in Brazil, with 1.1 million downloads just in that month. Bradesco’s longest-running business on this front, digital bank Next, was created in 2017 and recently hit the 7 million customer mark.

READ ALSO: Brazil has 200 million digital accounts and a challenge: how to make them actually used

Lazari was also optimistic about Bradesco‘s prospects, saying that the bank is expected to report above-inflation growth in fee income in 2022, despite a more pessimistic economic outlook for the country. Last week, Lazari had said that the bank’s loan portfolio is expected to grow by double digits in 2022, while costs will likely continue to grow below inflation.

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