Nubank reaches 100 million customers across Latin America

Brazilian neobank Nubank made waves yesterday as it announced it reached 100 million customers across Latin America. This milestone made it the first digital bank outside of Asia, according to a securities filing, and cemented its reputation as a serious competitor to traditional banks in the region.

The fintech phenomenon is spreading its influence throughout the continent, particularly in Brazil, where it has established its main business. In recent years, the company has been working to replicate this success in Colombia and Mexico, accelerating its operations in these markets. Recently, Nubank announced a new $100 million investment in Mexico, aiming to ramp up its customer acquisition efforts in the country.

David Vélez, CEO and co-founder at Nubank.

With over US$1 billion in net profit reported for 2023, the digital bank is clearly riding a wave of momentum, firmly establishing itself well beyond the break-even point. The firm is expected to report earnings next week for the first quarter of this year, while its shares are trading nearly 45% higher year to date on the heels of strong results last year.

Nubank, a LatAm fintech disruptor

“In 2013, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of reaching one million customers in five years, which seemed almost impossible at the time,” CEO and co-founder David Velez said in a statement. In a decade, we have surpassed 100 million.”

Nubank disrupted the Brazilian banking landscape during the 2010s, experiencing accelerated growth as the decade turned. Its expansion led to an Initial Public Offering in U.S. markets in late 2021, which allowed it to garner sufficient funding just before public markets took a turn for the worse the following year.

The bulk of its business, however, continues to come from its home market. Presently, Nubank serves over 92 million customers in Brazil, 7 million in Mexico, and nearly 1 million in Colombia. They still have room to grow as there are many countries in Latin America where they don’t operate just yet, and the neobank has made a case for growing market share across the range of financial products it currently offers in Brazil.

“We are still in the early days of cracking banking in Brazil”, David Velez, CEO and co-founder, said in a recent interview celebrating the milestone. “We have 53% of the Brazilian adult population as customers, but we have small market shares in all the verticals. There is this opportunity to continue growing market share in every (product).”

Beyond 100 million: growing in Mexico is Nubank’s top priority

Velez has made it clear that aggressive expansion in Mexico tops its list of priorities for the year. The company introduced a deposit account product last year, paving the way for it to significantly accelerate its pace of expansion in this critical North American market.

With nearly 2 million new customers added in the last quarter alone, the digital bank is leveraging high-yield accounts to entice customers away from traditional banks. This strategy, Velez, said, “accelerated our company-wide flywheel in the country and consolidated NU as the indisputable leader in the digital banking category in Mexico.”

The Mexican market is emerging as the next battleground for digital banking expansion in Latin America, attracting both local players and international fintechs eager to capitalize on its population of 130 million and drive the adoption of online banking services while reducing reliance on cash.

  • David Feliba

    David is a Latin American journalist. He reports regularly on the region for global news organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Americas Quarterly.

    He has worked for S&P Global Market Intelligence as a LatAm financial reporter and has built expertise on fintech and market trends in the region.

    He lives in Buenos Aires.