Overview of the Most Interesting Bank-FinTech Initiatives in Brazil

September 9, 2017     By : Mariana Rodrigues

With the advancement of startups that are solving problems for Brazilians in the financial sector, it is natural for large banks to have an interest in getting closer and, if possible, integrating the solutions into their portfolios. This year, Santander, in partnership with Endeavor, launched an acceleration program called Radar. Caixa Econômica Federal has the Social Impact Business Challenge with the NGO Artemisia underway.

However, the banks that stand out most from the crowd, in alignment with the entrepreneurial ecosystem, are Itaú, Bradesco and Banco do Brasil. Below is the review of the initiatives of these banks.

Banco do Brasil (BB)

Currently, Banco do Brasil has the most virtual account holders in the country, with more than 1 million digital accounts.

In November 2016, the bank announced the Banco do Brasil Advanced Laboratory (Labb) in Silicon Valley, within Plug and Play. The site is used for both incubating internal innovation projects and identifying investment opportunities in startups that develop interesting solutions for the company.

BB announced that this year that it will have 16 accelerated projects. However, only four of them are in Silicon Valley. An accelerated initiative in Brazil is the financial education application Trato. Developers and FinTechs are currently helping customers to test the two bank programs.

  • Open Banking

The bank is the first in Latin America to launch a structured open banking operation through the BB for Developers. The portal concentrates the tests of APIs offered by Banco do Brasil to developers.

According to Marco Mastroeni, the director of digital business, the bank data belongs to everyone, and that’s why the developer’s portal has been launched. Of 1, 000 subscribers, 10 startups were selected and will do the first tests of APIs, according to Mastroeni.

  • Pagar ou receber (Pay or receive)

The second experiment carried out by the bank is Pagar ou Receber. The purpose of the solution is to facilitate the transfer between two or more accounts, between Banco do Brasil clients.

When accessing the bank application, the clients can generate a QR Code with the data of their account and the value. Another option for users is to send the information by WhatsApp or SMS. Whoever scans the code will have access to the data to make the transfer. For the bank, there is a gain in efficiency since the code can reduce the number of transactions not performed by errors in filling the register.

Bradesco

Bradesco also has a digital account known as Next. It was launched as an independent bank platform with more modern communication to dispute the millennial public with other digital accounts available in the market.

The bank also has InovaBra Ventures, a R$ 100 million investment fund to encourage innovation. Part of this amount is invested in the startups accelerated by InovaBra, an acceleration program that is in the third edition.

Luca Cavalcanti, Bradesco executive director, announced at the Fintouch event in São Paulo the InovaBra International program, which starts in September with offices in New York and London. Similar to the national program, it aims to seek interesting initiatives from banks in other countries.

In addition, Cavalcanti announced that Bradesco will open in December coworking in São Paulo, near Paulista Avenue. “Bradesco wants to bring investors, mentors, clients and entrepreneurs to this space,” he commented.

Itaú

In Sao Paulo, Itaú has the coworking Cubo in partnership with Redpoint eventures. The bank announced recently that in the first half of next year, Cubo will move to a building which can accommodate up to 210 startups. About 56 startups are currently using the building for their business operations. The site has eight segmented event programs that provide integration between startups and companies which may be interested in the projects.

In addition, the bank is currently accepting applications for the open innovation program Itaú Insights.

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Mariana Rodrigues

Mariana Rodrigues

Mariana Rodrigues is a regular contributor to Let's Talk Payments and is focused on the FinTech market in Brazil.
Mariana Rodrigues