Mexico-based fintech Credijusto buys a bank

Photo: The Financial Times

THE FINANCIAL TIMES.- In the six years since launching Credijusto, a Mexican fintech lending to small businesses, David Poritz and Allan Apoj delivered more than 250 per cent annual revenue growth and managed to turn Covid-19 into an opportunity.

But when the co-chief executives decided to go mainstream by buying a bank, even one of their biggest backers baulked. Hernán Kazah, co-founder of Latin America’s biggest venture capital firm, Kaszek, feared the purchase of Banco Finterra could cause the duo to lose focus.

Or as he puts it: “When David and Allan said they were buying a bank, I thought they were mad.” Poritz, a 32-year-old US anthropologist-turned-entrepreneur with a masters in public policy from the University of Oxford, smiles at the irony: “Fintechs were created to disrupt the banking sector,” he says.

And yet, in June, Credijusto spent an undisclosed sum under $50m to become a bank itself. For them, it proved their core belief that after successfully challenging the stodgy financial establishment from the outside, they can now change it from within.

Like Credijusto, Finterra targets the nearly 5m small and medium-sized companies that make up half of Mexico’s gross domestic product and employ 70 per cent of workers, but struggle to access credit.

But Credijusto’s unique selling point is the way it crunches electronic invoice, tax and other data to grant customers loans within hours. Kazah had been concerned that the price tag would be too high “and there could be surprises under the rug” but Poritz and Apoj stuck to their guns. They had begun evaluating whether to apply for a banking charter to take their business to the next level.