• Wed. Nov 16th, 2022

Meet the people behind the awesome app that says it’s driving financial inclusion to get unbanked people banked in the US

ByElla E. Kidwell

Jun 16, 2022

Inter CEO João Vitor Menin (Photo: Inter)

In South America, the name of a nearly 30-year-old digital bank seems to be synonymous with financial inclusion.

Inter&Co (BVMF: BIDI11) says he hopes to have closed the gap by making financial services accessible to everyone – and become a household name in the United States

More banking services for underserved communities could be essential, especially as the United Nations has identified financial inclusion as an enabler for seven of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

To put this into context, the World Bank defines financial inclusion as individuals and businesses having access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – payments, including cross-border – provided in a responsible and sustainable manner. .

Financial inclusion

Inter&Co believes it cracked this financial access code in 2015 when its goal was to offer feature-rich options that competitors lacked. While most banks were slow to embrace the digital revolution, Brazil’s Super App reportedly began laying the groundwork to expand financial services to cover those who had historically been left behind by hostile banking bureaucracies.

Formerly known as Intermedium, Banco Inter was founded by the Menin family, owners of Brazil’s largest homebuilder and real estate company, MRV, to provide home loans. But in 2008, the Brazilian Central Bank gave Inter the green light to become a multifaceted Super App.

Seven years later, it launched its first digital account, followed by a new brand identity – Inter – in 2017. Now considering itself a big brother of Brazilian digital banks, Inter has transformed its offering into a super app that navigates at the intersection between fintech and banking.

With 18.6 million customers in the first quarter of 2022, almost twice as many as in 2021, Inter exceeded 20 million customers in the second quarter.

Who is leading the banking revolution?

The Super App recently released figures that indicate the growth it is witnessing could be partly attributed to the strong leadership of CEO João Vitor Menin.

Menin did not start out in banking or finance. He graduated in 2005 with a civil engineering degree from the FUMEC University of Belo Horizonte before obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance from IBMEC in 2008.

He joined Inter in 2004 and was a member of the board from 2005 to 2019. In April 2008 he became Chief Operating Officer (COO) and in December 2015 was appointed CEO.

Menin has extensive experience in financial and capital markets. He has led Inter’s digital and financial inclusion plan for the past 15 years.

He believes technology is reshaping banking in Brazil and around the world, and Inter is leading this revolution by putting customers first.

Speaking at Inter Investor Day 2021, Menin said 2021 was an important year for the company.

He explained that in addition to entering the capital markets, the company raised 5.5 billion reais – or $1 billion in primary offerings – to allow Inter to have a very strong balance sheet for propel growth.

The CEO of Inter believed that to solidify its position as the best and true super app in Brazil, Inter needed three key elements: technology, growth and a strong balance sheet.

“The best way for us to highlight how good we are at using technology is to say that we are the only real Super App. We have many different products and features in one app,” Menin explained. .

As a customer-centric and innovation-driven Super App, the CEO of Inter said that he has already launched 27 new versions of the app. Currently, “more than 1,300 microservices work simultaneously to provide banking and non-banking products, loans, investments, insurance purchases and others”, which makes it unique in the Brazilian market.

In a country that has players like Itau Unibanco Holding SA (NYSE: ITUB) and Bank Bradesco SA (NYSE: BBD), Inter could take a leap forward with a focus on financial inclusion.

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