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FINTECH

Brazil: BCB opens up credit fintechs to foreign capital

Central bank taking further action to lower credit costs through competition; Banco Inter’s post-IPO growth shows digital banking opportunity.

Michel-Temer-brazil-close-up-R-780

Brazilian president Michel Temer signs decree 9,544 before leaving office



Brazil’s central bank (BCB) has taken another step to increase the competitive forces in the country’s highly consolidated banking system by authorizing foreign investors to own up to 100% of credit fintechs.

Brazilian president Michel Temer, who will leave office on January 1, signed decree 9,544 as part of BCB’s ‘+ Agenda’, which aims to stimulate innovation and competition in the credit markets.

The bank said it expects this will speed up foreign entrants into the market for providing loans to Brazilian consumers and companies.

This is the latest rule change to foster competition in the banking system and follows BCB’s introduction of a lighter regulatory regime for fintechs, as well as its decision not to allow Itaú to pursue its majority purchase of XP Investimentos.

The central bank hasn’t signalled that it will extend the rule change to other financial areas, such as payment systems or insurance.

Pressure

The move will add to the challenge that the large Brazilian banks have been facing from domestic start-ups.