Nubank user base tops 90 million, growing 1 million each month

abdelaziz Fathi

Nubank, the Brazilian newbank that counts Warren Buffett as a backer, is setting its sights on becoming Latin America’s biggest financial services group. The digital lender, which started in Brazil about a decade ago, is poised to achieve an annual profit milestone of $1 billion.

Nubank

Nubank’s CEO David Vélez highlighted the company’s expansion plans in Mexico and Colombia in an interview with the Financial Times. The bank aims to become the largest financial services group in the region by customer numbers. Currently, 90% of Nubank’s business is based outside the U.S.

“I think that will happen eventually. We’re now in the top five. We see a path towards becoming the leading financial institution in Latin America and one of the leading financial institutions in the world over a number of decades,” said Vélez.

After reducing its losses to $9.1 million in 2022, Nubank is expected to report a big increase in net income for 2023. The company revolutionized Brazil’s traditional banking sector by offering zero-fee services like accounts and money transfers. Mexico is the company’s next major focus, where more than half of the nearly 130 million population do not have a bank account.

The fintech debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in 2021 in a listing that floated it as Latin America’s most valuable financial institution, worth $52 billion.

Nubank, which began as a zero-fee credit card managed by a mobile app, has expanded into a full-service banking entity, providing a range of services including investments and insurance. With about 90 million users, mostly in Brazil, Nubank is rapidly growing, adding roughly 1 million customers per month.

Despite its success, the Sao Paulo-based fintech faces challenges in replicating its Brazilian model in Mexico due to cautious regulators. The company’s loan book in Mexico grew marginally in the six months to September, with a credit card market share of just over 2%.

Nubank’s default rates in Mexico are higher than average, attributed to its large number of first-time card customers. However, the company is optimistic about its growth prospects, exploring new markets in Latin America and potentially the U.S.

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