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Challenger banks: Brazil’s new destroyer

The country’s banks have become accustomed to the disruption caused by the new challengers, but XP Bank could take this to a whole new level.


Imagine that a new purely digital bank account is created by a country’s leading fintech.

Imagine that the brand behind the bank is already strong, well-known and positively viewed. And that the fintech already has 2.8 million customers with investment accounts, with a total of R$660 billion ($114.5 billion) in assets under custody.

Imagine, too, that this new digital bank is being launched at a time that will enable it to take advantage of the efficiencies created by the central bank’s new-technology agenda.

Add in that one of the best-known bankers in the country has been recruited to head up the bank with the mandate to deepen the relationship with existing customers rather than make the new entity particularly profitable on a standalone basis.

This is the reality for incumbent bank chief executives in Brazil who now face a new competitor, XP Bank. It is led by José Berenguer, former CEO of JPMorgan Brazil.

Jose Berenguer_400.jpg
José Berenguer, XP Bank

XP is beyond disruptive, it could be destructive.

“We want to use the retail bank to further penetrate our client base,” Berenguer tells Euromoney.

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Rob Dwyer is Latin America Editor. He has been a financial journalist since 1997 and has worked in London, New York and Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he is now based.
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