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Opinion

Digital banking: Itaú puts itself on the menu

This year was like no other in Latin American banking – and the huge leap forward in digital adoption throughout the region caused by the pandemic is here to stay.

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Euromoney awarded Nubank the best bank Latin America in its 2021 regional Awards for Excellence, in addition to awarding it best digital bank in the region.

It is now unquestionable that the recent growth of digital banks, coupled with their cost-lite business models, have moved them beyond being a theoretical threat to brick-and-mortar banks – they are now very much an existential threat.

No digital bank has previously won this best bank award, but given how the industry is evolving, it is fair to ask: will a traditional bank ever win again? Is their story now just one of managed decline?

Maluhy is going to reform – not reject – the branch model

It’s a risk. And it’s one that Itaú – the biggest private sector in the region – has recruited to address. The bank chose Milton Maluhy, a mid-40s banker with a digital pedigree, to respond to this growing threat.

Itaú’s Q1 2021 results were Maluhy’s first full quarter flying solo as CEO and the interest was intense – not so much for what those results were, but for his comments on future strategy.

The


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