Trends in Brazil’s Retail Banking: Digital and Core Review

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26 November 2014


Latin America is a market of interest for many financial institutions globally, but it is also a diverse region. While opportunities are growing, the market can sometimes be difficult to reach, with some local institutions being barriers to entry.

Yet the Latin American market presents a wide range of opportunities, stemming from high growth and increasing tech adoption. Large unbanked and underbanked populations have been a challenge for banks that have traditionally catered to the mass affluent through traditional financial services. But that is changing, and consumers are adopting more technology, products, and services, democratizing the banking industry and giving institutions new cost-effective means through which to capture the undeserved markets. However, it’s a slow climb getting into this market.

Trends in Brazil’s Retail Banking: Digital and Core Review is one in a series of reports covering various markets in Latin America. In this edition, Celent looks at Brazil. Subsequent reports will address Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.

Brazil is a large and idiosyncratic market, with complex and specific requirements for financial services. For much of its history, the market evolved in isolation, creating different operating rules and standards, from both a product and a regulatory perspective.

Unlike other banking markets in Latin America, where many of the largest institutions are subsidiaries of large multinationals, the largest tier 1 institutions in the country are mostly Brazilian-owned. This is partly a product of a traditionally insular market, and has resulted in and contributed to some of the exclusionary policies around the financial market. For financial institutions, especially those entering the market, this has proven a challenge.

“Brazil is a large and rapidly growing market amid an increasingly important global geography,” says Juan Mazzini, a senior analyst with Celent’s Insurance practice and coauthor of the report. “It is moving towards higher mobile adoption, greater wealth, and increased adoption of financial services.”

“Large unbanked and underbanked populations will start to engage in financial service in new ways,” says Stephen Greer, an analyst with Celent’s Banking practice and coauthor of the report. “Inclusion of this demographic will come through enhanced use of digital channels.”