Only 11% of Latin Americans have access to credit from formal institutions. In fact, in Chile, 37% of adults have no accounts with a formal financial provider, even though Chile has one of the highest levels of financial inclusion in the region.
In comparison, under 40% of adults in Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have formal bank accounts. However, in one of the most chronically underbanked parts of the world, improvements in financial technology have opened the doors for widespread financial inclusion throughout the Latin America.
More and more people are accessing mobile payments, credit systems, and P2P lending opportunities through recent advances in local fintech, and investors are catching wind of the enormous opportunity.
While there have been considerable advances in financial technology in Latin America in the past five years, many tools are still only available in the countries where they were founded. A report by Oliver Wyman, released in September 2016, provides a snapshot of local fintech players in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.
Being able to open a bank account, exchange currency, open a credit card or have access to business credit in something that we take for granted in the United States. I know I did before moving to Latin America.
In the US, most people can easily open bank accounts, apply for loans, and transfer money digitally. But that’s not the case for the bottom 80% of income earners in much of Latin America. It took me 3 years to get a bank in Chile to allow me to open a business account when all I wanted to
Village Capital is a global VC firm with offices in Mexico City that finds, trains, and invests in entrepreneurs solving real-world problems, like the Fintech problems I just mentioned. VilCap works to build communities around entrepreneurs and their ventures to improve opportunities for growth and success. In this conversation, I’m speaking with Amanda Jacobson, Regional Manager for Latin America for the Village Capital team. She explains how VC is changing the way people live and work in Latin America and how Fintech in Latin America is one of the biggest areas of focus for them right now.