São Paulo, Brazil, March 24, 2021—A timely investment, supporting an innovative and technology-driven business model, will help expand high-quality and affordable lending in Brazil. International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announces an investment of up to $10 million in OpenCo, the Brazilian consumer financing fintech created this year after the merger of Geru and Rebel, the two leading players in this credit space. The company raised a $25 million Series-C financing round, led by IFC and Goldman Sachs that also included Raiz Investimentos as a co-investor. Existing investors Monashees, LTS, Chromo and Sampa that also participated in the financing round.
IFC aims to identify and invest in fintech opportunities that can scale access to finance and foster financial inclusion in the country – Open Co´s shared mission. IFC's equity investment will help the company expand its lending activities. This will further promote competitiveness in unsecured lending, one of the most expensive areas of the consumer finance market.
"We will use the additional capital to fuel our growth, giving us the ability to increase our investments in technology and new product development. We want to make sure that every single Brazilian has access to credit, and we want to excel in that offering at all different points of need our clients may have", explained Sandro Reiss, OpenCo's cofounder.
"IFC's strategy for the financial sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) includes supporting financial inclusion by leveraging digital technologies and innovative business models such as fintech. Leading players such as OpenCo can play an important role in improving access to financial services in Brazil," said Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC's Country Manager in Brazil. "IFC's support will also catalyze investments in the sector, fostering market competition and reducing traditional banking costs," he added.
OpenCo unites Geru and Rebel's track record and technology to provide Brazilians fair access to credit, through lower bureaucracy and cheaper rates than those typically charged by banks. This combination enables OpenCo to have a holistic view of each individual consumer creditworthiness and ensures higher credit approval rates and better interest rates according to each different risk profile. Up to the end of 2020, the company has issued over R$1.5 billion in loans and it plans to issue another R$1 billion in 2021 alone. IFC's equity investment will help OpenCo to grow from 80,000 outstanding loans in 2019 to 400,000 by 2024
Brazil has a history of high interest rates that can be attributed to its level of banking concentration, limited credit infrastructure, and consequently high operating costs. More than 30 percent of Brazilians remain excluded from traditional banking services and often pay an average annual interest rate of 100 percent for unsecured loans, and around 300 percent a year for unsecured overdrafts.
The Brazilian regulator is trying to address this challenge through a series of market reforms, including allowing fintech companies to lend directly to clients. As an experienced investor in financial services and fintech in Brazil, IFC is well-positioned to help OpenCo expand taking advantage of new regulatory licenses—and demonstrate to investors and other fintech firms the benefits of this new regulatory framework.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
OpenCo was created in 2021 as result of the merger between Geru and Rebel, the two leading unsecured credit fintechs in Brazil. OpenCo's mission is to allow every Brazilian fair access to credit, increasing competition in a market dominated by few very large banks. For more information, visit www.open-co.com.