Nu Holdings Ltd. (NU) would consider reentering the Argentine market if the country’s macroeconomic conditions were to improve, according to Cristina Junqueira, co-founder and Chief Growth Officer (CGO) of the Brazilian digital bank.
“Yes, it is a very large market with a lot of people, people who I also think would like to have more options, better services, but it is a complex country to navigate. So, we would like to see the macro environment more stabilized to think about that,” she said.
Junqueira shared her thoughts on the idea of returning to the Argentine market in an interview on Bloomberg Línea’s podcast, La Estrategia del Día.
The fintech’s Chief Growth Officer and right-hand woman to CEO David Vélez emphasized the scourge of inflation in Argentina and the need for the country to return to “fairer” levels. She also highlighted the importance of stability in relationships with key stakeholders, such as the Central Bank and the Economy MInistry.
Nubank’s brief foray into Argentina took place in June of 2019, with the opening of an office in Buenos Aires and the hiring of 12 employees. However, it exited shortly afterward, defining the move as a strategic withdrawal to focus on growth in Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia.
Nubank’s current market cap currently exceeds US$40 billion, allowing it to rank among the four largest banks in Brazil at the end of 2023. Now, Junqueira says the company could consider a new attempt in the Argentine market, the third-largest in Latin America by population and Gross Domestic Product.
Argentina, where other competitors like Ualá, Mercado Pago, Brubank, and Reba operate, has one of the lowest credit-to-GDP ratios in the world. Amid rampant inflation in October 2023, Argentine private sector credit stood at 6% of GDP, compared to Colombia’s 44% in 2022, according to information from the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic (BCRA) and the World Bank.
“There are many changes now in Argentina. Hopefully, it will go toward a better path, and the population will have more stability because that is a very, very high cost for the population. But time will tell,” explained Junqueira.
Nubank’s co-founder emphasized in that regard that, although Argentina presents challenges, the door is not definitively closed, and the company could reconsider the possibility of operating again. “Yes, it is possible. It is not impossible,” Junqueira affirmed, leaving the possibility of a future return open.
As of the third quarter of 2023, Nubank had 89 million customers, having added 18.7 million in the 12 months up to October. The neobank also reported a record revenue in that quarter, totaling US$2 billion, resulting in a net profit of US$303 million.