Banking industry in Brazil – statistics & facts

Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). In 2018, the Portuguese-speaking country reached a GDP of nearly 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars, surpassing Mexico – the second largest - by more than 54 percent. Brazil also holds the title of the most populous country in the region, with over 211 million inhabitants as of that year. With such a large population and a growing economy, it is not surprising that the banking industry is considered an important sector and an economic driver for growth and development. Although the country accounts for the largest number of banks among Latin American nations, it falls behind in terms of bank density. This can be seen in 2018, when there were nearly 21 thousand bank branches operating in the country, a total of approximately 2.4 branches per 1,000 square kilometers.

Financial figures

Since 2015, total bank assets in Brazil have remained stable at around seven trillion Brazilian reals. Loans, on their own, made up for nearly half of the total endowments, a ratio that has also remained consistent in the most recent years. In terms of liabilities, the banking industry in the South American country registered bank deposits adding up to almost 3.3 thousand U.S. dollars per person. At the same time, Itaú Unibanco was the bank that concentrated the highest value of sight or on call deposits - which can be withdrawn without notice - with around 19 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Overall, the industry reached profits amounting to 93 billion Brazilian reals that year.

Access and use

In recent years, the use of debit cards has increased by nearly 20 percent, attaining approximately 116 million active cards in 2019. Though at a slower pace, the use of credit cards has been expanding too, from 85 million in 2015 to 100 million active cards in 2019. However, there is still a share of the population with no access or no interest on being part of the banking system. Those people are known as unbanked population, and they are specifically defined as individuals who have not used a bank account in at least the last six months. In 2019, more than half of the Brazilian unbanked population were women.

Online and mobile banking

Online banking has been responsible for improving the penetration rate of banking services in Brazil. With more people having access to the internet, allowing users to perform financial transactions on their mobile devices has been a prioritized initiative in order to bring the financial system closer to the population. This trend has become specifically noticeable in mid-2018, when at least 16 fintech companies operating in Brazil were in the digital banking segment. On top of that, traditional banks have also increased investments in technology. From big data and analytics to artificial intelligence, this has become the most preferred option by more than 70 percent of the financial institutions. As a result, on average, 64 percent of all the digitally active population in the Portuguese-speaking country used at least two fintech services in 2019.

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Banking industry in Brazil

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