How will Nubank triumph in Colombia?
Nubank is gearing up to further expand its market share and product offering in Colombia, at a time when local competitors are challenging the neobank to adopt new strategies.
To that end, the Brazilian digital bank’s local operation, Nu Colombia, obtained a loan of up to US$150 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector lending arm. The IFC’s
first fintech investment in LatAm is designed to accelerate Nubank’s strategy for an attractive growth market where there’s an incipient digital offering but where competition is also intensifying.
“The loan will deepen Colombians’ access to means of payment and credit cards, with a special focus on the unbanked population,” Alicia Ferrer, an IFC investment officer, told iupana. Its investment seeks to boost financial inclusion, especially among women and minority groups, Ferrer said, pointing out that 30% of the neobank’s clients in Colombia have never had a bank account.
“Additionally, by supporting Nubank, a new entrant in the market, we’ll promote greater competition in the industry, which will benefit consumers,” she added.
The Sao Paulo-based fintech began operations in Colombia in August 2020, having previously established itself in Brazil and Mexico. But the firm has yet to differentiate its offering from the digital proposals of traditional banks, as it strives to attract more customers.
Nubank had about 440,000 users in Colombia as of 3Q 2022, compared to the 67 million it has in Brazil and another 3 million in Mexico. RappiPay, a joint venture between the superapp and Banco Davivienda, has almost twice the number of users in Colombia — around 800,000 — as well as 200,000 credit cards in circulation.
IFC says the loan to Nu Colombia marks the start of its support for fintech firms in the region. “Nubank is supposed to be the first in a series of investments in digital banks. Part of IFC’s strategy is to diversify its financial institutions portfolio in the region, not only with new clients but also through different types of financing products,” said Ferrer.