Ecuador poised for year of fast fintech expansion

By
Thursday, February 7, 2019

The fintech sector in Ecuador is poised for another year of very strong growth in 2019, according to fintech impact organization Finnovista.

IDB and Finnovista released a study in November last year that identified 1,166 fintechs in 18 Latin American countries, a rise of 66% since the first study published by the two organizations, in 2017.

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Growth in Ecuador, 162%, was much faster than the regional average and brought the number of fintechs in the Andean nation to 34. Brazil ranked first with 380 startups, followed by Mexico and Colombia with 273 and 148, respectively.

The number of new fintechs in Ecuador should grow at a pace of around 150% this year, Andrés Fontao (pictured), co-founder and managing partner of Finnovista, told BNamericas.

The main focus so far of the majority of Ecuadoran fintechs has been on the enterprise financial management segment, followed by enterprise technologies for financial institutions, and payments and remittances.

The focus on lending has not yet been very strong and for this reason Finnovista does not expect initiatives by the authorities to regulate the fintech sector in the near term, Fontao said.

Mexico became the region's fintech regulations pioneer last year when it published a landmark law.

Regulations tend to come when a fintech sector begins to have a significant impact on a country's financial system and that is not yet the case in Ecuador, Fontao noted.

Given Ecuador's low level of loan penetration, the number of fintechs that offer loans is likely to increase in the coming years, he added.

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Finnovista promotes the development of the fintech industry in Latin America and Spain, and it is also active in startup acceleration and scaling.

ALSO READ: Chinese firms eye LatAm fintech market

BNamericas recently took a close look at Ecuador's fiscal and economic problems and the challenges facing its banking sector in an Intelligence Report, which is available here.