Argentine digital bank Brubank, founded by a former Citigroup Inc executive, is looking to expand to Colombia and Peru in 2022 after raising more financing at the end of this year.
The Buenos Aires-based company is planning a Series B funding round during the last quarter of 2021 to invest more in Argentina and to finance an expansion into South American markets that appear under served at the moment, Chief Executive Officer Juan Bruchou said in an interview.
“We see more opportunities in Colombia and Peru to kick off our regional growth bet,” Bruchou said. “We are studying other economies, but there are too many players in Brazil and Mexico right now.”
Brubank has already filed the request to operate as a commercial bank in Colombia, and it’s in the process of doing the same in Peru.
Brubank, which offers debit cards and banking through a mobile app with no branches, has doubled the size of transactions and deposits in the last seven months during intermittent lockdowns in South America’s second-largest economy. The growth seen during the coronavirus pandemic – like many fintech firms – has been faster than expected with consumers turning to formal banking options and online payments. Half of Brubank’s clients never had a bank account before.
Bruchou, 63, spent more than 25 years at Citigroup as CEO for Venezuela, Malaysia, Argentina and later as CEO of Latam South Region before leaving the firm in 2015. He founded Brubank in 2018 along with Chief Technology Officer Pablo Sánchez.
“People got used to not going to the bank during lockdown and realised they could operate online,” Bruchou said in a phone interview. “And once that happened, they want the best technology.”
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While the bank is currently expanding into merchant services, the company has set itself an ambitious pipeline ahead. Beyond the future funding round, it will issue credit cards and offer clients the possibility to invest in local mutual funds by the end of the year. The bank also will offer accounts for small and medium-sized companies in 2022.
Bruchou declined to comment on the company’s valuation but confirmed that Canadian billionaire David Thomson raised his stake in the bank to 25 from 15 percent, and that it currently has 215 employees.
by Jorgelina do Rosario, Bloomberg