Banking industry in Brazil – statistics & facts

Finance

A healthy banking system is key to economic growth, as banks offer low-risk investment options for households to allocate their savings and provide firms with loans to expand their operations and hire new employees. Being the largest country in Latin America both by population and by gross domestic product (GDP), it is no surprise that Brazil has the largest and most sophisticated banking sector in the region. Brazil has more bank branches than any other Latin American country. Brazil is also home to the two most valuable banking brands in the region: Itau Unibanco and Banco Bradesco.

Can the Brazilian banking sector expand further?

Despite some fluctuations, the net income of the Brazilian banking sector increased over the last year. This shows an expanding industry that provides attractive profit opportunities, also thanks to a steadily increasing demand for banking services in the country. In recent years, the use of debit cards has soared, attaining approximately 167 million active cards in 2020. Though at a slower pace, the use of credit cards has been expanding too, reaching 134 million active cards in 2020. However, as a developing nation, there is still a share of Brazilians with no access to banking services. Nevertheless, the number of unbanked individuals decreased over the years, paving the way for a further expansion of the Brazilian banking industry in the future.

Are Brazilian banks ready for fintech?

Brazilian banks promptly integrated financial technology in their operations, and Brazil accounts for roughly one-third of all the fintech startups in Latin America. The leading Brazilian fintech is the Sao Paolo-headquartered neobank Nubank, which has seen its customer base increase steadily since its foundation in 2013, and whose operating revenue grew from 174 to 4,592 million Brazilian reals between 2018 and 2020. Brazilian customers quickly acknowledged the many advantages of fintech solutions, with the digital payments sector gathering most of the attention.

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