In early June I spent a few days in Mexico City. The main purpose of the trip was to participate and give a keynote at the 2016 Cumbre de Directores (Director’s Summit), a conference sponsored by Endeavor Mexico in collaboration with the IPADE Business School. Endeavor is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to long-term economic growth by supporting high-impact entrepreneurship in over 25 cities around the world, including Mexico. The Director’s Summit is Endeavor Mexico’s major annual meeting, bringing together over 400 entrepreneurs and senior executives.
My talk was focused on the changing nature of innovation in the digital economy. A major part of the talk included a discussion of innovations in the digital payments and financial services ecosystem. My keynote was followed by two separate FinTech panels, where different entrepreneurs discussed the importance of FinTech in Mexico as well as their individual companies’ efforts in the area. That same evening I attended and spoke at a reception sponsored by Angel Ventures Mexico, an early stage VC firm where I also heard quite a bit about FinTech startups. My overall impression is that there’s considerable FinTech activity in Mexico, a large portion of which is aimed at financial inclusion.
Every year, the World Bank publishes the Global Findex database, a measure of financial inclusion around the world, including how individuals save, borrow, make payments and manage risks in over 140 countries. According to their latest report, - Global Findex 2014, - 62 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a bank, at another type of financial institution, or with a mobile money provider, - up from 51 percent in 2011. The 2014 report also noted that 2 billion adults remain without an account around the world, a 20 percent decrease from the 2.5 billion unbanked adults in 2011. Technology advances, particularly the rapid growth in mobile devices and digital financial services, are the major reasons for these dramatic improvements.
The Global Findex database includes data for each individual country. Their 2014 data for Mexico showed that about 39 percent of adults had accounts with financial institutions, - a significant improvement over the 27.4 percent of adults with accounts in 2011. But, Mexico still lags many of its peers in Latin America. Over half of all adults have financial accounts in Latin America as a whole, significantly above Mexico’s figure.