Latin America's best digital bank 2020: Banco Inter
Awards for Excellence 2020
The best digital bank award goes to Banco Inter, which has pulled off the difficult feat of keeping both its investors happy following its 2018 IPO – as it matures from a rapid growth story – and its clients.
Banco Inter is a rare example in the region of a fully fledged bank, rather than a fintech with a couple of verticals masquerading as a digital banking platform.
Following its first-quarter 2020 results, management, led by chief executive and controlling shareholder João Vitor Menin, says the bank is on track to deliver its mid-term goal of client growth. Analysts and the markets agree, with the bank valued at over $1 billion.
Banco Inter now has a total client base of 4.9 million – up 22% in the quarter and 155% year on year – and its management is confident that it will have reached eight million customers by the end of 2020.
João Vitor Menin
Engagement levels are also driving profitability. The cross-selling ratio reached 2.7 times in the first quarter of this year (up 147% in the year) and the bank’s investment platform – which now has 600,000 active clients – posted 87% growth in the number of individuals with equities under custody and has R$18 billion of assets under custody.
With the economic recession and lower interest rates driving Brazilians into equities by the millions in recent months, it is likely the bank will see further acceleration of this part of its business.
The core business also posted strong growth in fees, up 131% in the year, driven mainly by card revenues, which were up 57% in the quarter and 258% year on year. Demand deposits – a difficult product to grow in a purely digital operation – are responding positively and grew to R$2.6 billion in the first quarter of 2020, from R$2.1 billion in the last quarter of 2019.
The healthy growth in client numbers is the real driver of valuations, but tight control of costs has kept the bank in the black – an impressive demonstration of management capability so early in the firm’s story.