The Brazilian giant and neobank that innovates to include more Latin Americans in the financial market have grown exponentially. We spoke with Juan Carlos Guillermety, Head of Nubank’s Strategy & Development, on what makes them different, their priorities, and the concept and application of diversity.
In the last year, many organizations experienced the need and obligation to transform digitally, a process that does not stop. Nubank is a digital bank by definition; how do you experience this situation in an organization that was born digital?
Being born-digital effectively makes a big difference because we did not have a technological adoption phase to go through. What we did see was that the adoption of our products skyrocketed as people began to try financial alternatives that allowed them to protect themselves at home, and precisely because we were born digital, we had the ability to meet that demand for digital financial products. As a result, we already have more than 40 million clients in three Latin American countries.
In addition, we have the vision that our products are never finished; they are always in constant evolution since our clients are too. Technology also allows us to constantly communicate with our customers to understand which product really suits their needs. We use technology to offer the product and do it efficiently so that the client does not have to pay abusive rates. I’ll give you an example: Mexicans and Brazilians have very different ways of using cards. In Mexico, they are actually used to finance purchases. Knowing this and that interest-free month options are often linked to a specific promotion or require a fairly high minimum purchase, we decided to launch the deferred purchase option. This allows our users to choose which purchase they want to defer and in how many months, even if the merchant does not offer this option. After launching this functionality on our credit card in Mexico, we saw that our users in Brazil wanted to have that same option, so now we offer that possibility there too.[LO1]
Founded in 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil
Latin America’s largest neobank and fintech
Valued at US$25 billion
Recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the world according to the Fast Company 2019 ranking
Headquarters in Brazil, Germany, and Mexico
One of Nubank’s mottos is based on “fighting against the complexity of the financial system so that you regain control of your money,” and we live in a continent in which a large part of the population is not banked or has an irregular employment situation. From your role as Head of Strategy & Development, what is it like to think about the strategy day by day, taking into account that the market does not forgive, but at the same time you aim to help people in their financial management?
At Nubank, we believe that the complexity of the traditional financial system is made to put barriers to entry for users and take advantage of the asymmetry of information between them. That is why we are constantly innovating in ways that allow us to include more and more Latin Americans in the traditional financial market.
Our risk analysis models for our credit card product are constantly evolving and optimizing, which allows us to increase our acceptance rate more and more. Also, we have innovated how we grant credit to people who do not have a credit history, giving them a small credit limit initially, which is increased according to payment behavior. Similarly, in Brazil, we offer a credit card aimed at people who do not have a financial history or who are reported in the country’s credit bureaus. As a result, the product grows at an exponential rate. Since February this year, when it was launched, five million new customers have adopted the card with a “guarantee” that allows you to add a limit to make purchases on credit.
We are driven by the premise of really getting to know our clients, and we do that every day. Our customer service team – which we call Xpeers, because they really care that all our customers have the Nu experience – share their feedback with all product development teams. Thus, we co-create our product with our customers, our home community.
It is important to highlight that we focus on each market individually. Although we have learned a great deal from our operation in Brazil, each country works completely differently, and we are always looking for more and better ways to offer the ideal products and services for the different markets in which we operate.
What is constant is our absolute focus on customer service and product experience. We believe that this distinguishes us and is one of the reasons why our clients are our main ambassadors. 30% of our new customers come from a user recommendation and in the case of Mexico, our Net Promoter Score is 93 points, which is not only much higher than other companies that offer financial services, it is very high compared to any other type of industry.
“With only 8 years in the market, we have been able to democratize access to financial services for 40 million people and revolutionize the entire industry in Latin America to make it simpler, more transparent, and more humane. Today we are entering new territories such as investments and insurance, as well as in new geographies in Colombia and Mexico”.
David Vélez, founder and CEO of Nubank
In most organizations, projections have paused or taken a completely different course. From your position, what is your projection since the technology industry (50% of Nubank) had to accelerate its processes and actions in record time?
Indeed, as I mentioned, we saw that the adoption of our products skyrocketed as people began to try digital alternatives that perhaps they had not previously tried due to mistrust or ignorance. Thanks to the relationship we build with our clients, based on clarity, transparency, and trust, we have seen our number of clients grow exponentially. In Mexico alone, we already have more than 2 million applications for our Credit Card, and we are already among the largest Credit Card issuers in the country. In the same way, more than 300,000 Colombians have already signed up on our waiting list to have the Nu credit card.
At a conference in Argentina, Alejandro Muszak, CEO of Wenance, said: “It is quite a challenge to keep up with fintech growth. The big stopper for a technology company is human resources. We are all fighting for talent”. Based on this, how does Nubank face this era in which technological talents are among the most required by the market?
We are well aware that human talent is the most critical component in any company. We believe that by building a relevant brand -with a clear vision, mission, and values- that acts with coherence and allows its collaborators to have a balanced life, we will continue attracting great talent. Building strong and diverse teams have been one of Nu’s values since we were born in 2013. A work environment that respects diversity and is welcoming to all is part of our culture, and we live it every day.
The Nubankers really are our main ambassadors; they believe in what we are doing and feel part of this movement that is changing financial services. We are proud to say that we are a human company that has even been recognized in Mexico as one of the best places to work if you are a developer or engineer of digital products.
”Human talent is the most important component in any company.”
You are from Colombia, you lived in the United States, now in Mexico, and you work for a company in Brazil. Do you think that this multiculturalism and ability to observe from different points of view gives you added value when leading teams?
Diversity is a value that has an enormous impact on organizations, and that is why building strong and diverse teams has been one of our pillars since we were born in 2013. Definitely, if a very homogeneous group of people starts developing solutions of any kind for very diverse groups, there is a problem. Simply because they are unaware of different realities and points of view, for this reason, in Nubank, diversity is lived. We have Nubankers of around 40 nationalities, and we constantly encourage cultural exchange because we understand that this will enrich our teams and, as a result, benefit our clients. This cultural openness also allows us to have greater empathy towards differences and thus better understand our clients.
At Nubank, we also understand diversity from different angles. That’s why 56% of leadership positions at Nu globally are held by people from underrepresented groups. We also have a goal by 2025 to hire no more than 3,300 women and for at least half of leadership positions to be held by women. While all of this makes us proud, we recognize that the road to true diversity and inclusion is only just beginning.
”Diversity is lived at Nubank.”
What would you say to the younger generations who live in a scenario of constant change at the work level?
I believe that the key to adapting to a changing environment is constant education and re-education. Learn formally and informally continuously. The new generations will face things that we did not even imagine, such as the extensive use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will surely require permanent reskilling. Many of us have already heard that the children in primary school today are going to study careers that do not yet exist. Imagine what will happen when they enter the world of work. Perhaps what they studied will serve them the first few years, and then they will have to rethink again.
A book: Homo Deus – A brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
A movie: My cousin Vinn
A tip: Seek to get involved in great challenges that force you to give the best of yourself
A place in the world: Cartagena, Colombia
Juan Carlos Guillemmety | Vice President – Head of Strategy & Development at Nubank