Note from BBT: There are a number of exciting things happening within the Afro-Brazilian community in terms of education, finances and entrepreneurship. Although the overall black population is still struggling, since the turn of the 21st century, specifically in the past decade, we’ve seen a number of advances for a parcel of the population. I won’t overexagerrate the success as the numbers tell us that, regardless of the success of a minority of pretos and pardos (blacks and browns), the vast majority has yet to taste this success.
To get an idea of what I mean, let’s take a look at a breakdown of the class status of Brazilians. The country is broken down into five financial classes, A, B, C, D and E. Families earning more than 20,9000 Brazilian Reais (BRL) per month are at the top of pyramid, which is Class A. Class B consists of households bringing in between 10,450-20,900 BRL per month. Class C families earn between BRL 4,180 and 10,450 per month. At the bottom are Classes D and E, with earnings of between BRL 2,090-4,180 BRL and up to BRL 2,090 respectively.
In 2020, we see things haven’t change much with 76% of all Brazilians who are part of classes D and E being pretos and pardos, with the average monthly income of these two groups being BRL 1,764. Even with the advances being made over the past decade, white Brazilians still make up about 2/3 of the highest economic classes, A and B, while ¾ of the poorest Brazilians are pretos and pardos.
My opinion on this topic has remained the same. The media will often highlight the success of a small parcel of the black population while conveiniently not emphasizing that the situation for the masses still hasn’t changed much, which is the real way in which we can come to a more accurate assessment of the community as a whole. We must keep this in mind at all times.
Many experts argue that the potential of the improvement of the lives of the poor and those living paycheck to paycheck will depend on those successful blacks and how they’re able to create initiatives, businesses and programs that can help the less fortunate of the population. I know that at the current rate, this would probably take decades, but I still like to share the success of those who are making moves.
In today’s story, I will focus on the emerging fintechs and startups that are being created and specifically targeted toward the black population. What we’re seeing these days is more and more preto and pardo Brazilians thinking and acting as a group, giving more thought about where they place and spend their money and with whom.
Banco Afro (Afro Bank) goes from one to thirty thousand clients after racist declaration of fintech company; Brazil now has five black-owned financial initiatives
The Banco Afro (Afro Bank), a social impact fintech focused on the black public, grew from one thousand to 30 thousand accounts registered in just four months. The main impulse came from the dissatisfaction of consumers with the statement made by the co-founder of another fintech startup company, NuBank’s.
In October, Cristina Junqueira, co-founder of Brazil’s largest fintech, said she has difficulties hiring blacks for leadership positions due to lack of technical requirements, adding that the digital bank “can’t lower the level”. Cristina apologized for the statement, which was classified as racist by social movements, but Nubank was the target of boycott campaigns.
Based in Brasilia, Banco Afro (Afro Bank) emerged in 2018 from the Grupo Afro Empreendedor, a collective of companies, with the objective of expanding the banking of economic classes C, D and E and strengthening the so-called “black money” movement. The fintech offers digital account, credit, microcredit and means of payment.
The fintech, commanded by CEO Diego Reis, will soon launch a social action in which new account holders will be able, after a process of analysis, to benefit from an aid of BRL 600, collected from donations.
Note from BBT: Banco Afro is not the only black finance-oriented company that’s making a name for itself. Below is a brief introduction to that company and well as four others.
Five black financial initiatives you need to know
By Flávia Banastor
The indignation generated towards digital banking due to Cristina Junqueira’s comments spread within the Afro-Brazilian population, as well as led to a search for black financial entrepreneurs who could offer banking with dignity to the clientele. Similar to a new attitude that we saw in 2019, with more black Brazilians seeking to spend its resources with black-owned stores and vendors, this outlook is also being considered in the finances arena. For those thinking about making a monetary redirection, below are few alternatives to consider:
Banco Afro is the result of an idea of the information technology manager, Diego Reis. In 2019, the bank went into operation to facilitate access to digital accounts and microcredit. After the racist comments of Nubank’s Cristina Junqueira, the initiative experienced a 5,000% growth. Today, the bank has 10,000 accounts, and it is expected to have 500,000 accounts this year.
It’s a resource administrator from Porto Alegre, capital city of Rio Grande do Sul state, that has been in the crypto currency market since 2017. Created by Jeison Santos, Ubuntu Finanças has a team of 11 people and 65% of the client base is black. The goal is to popularize the investment market. The project uses the ten currencies with the highest capitalization value, which means that, even without guaranteed gains, the company does not have negative performance.
The card is linked to a digital account, it has the Visa International label on it and is managed by Brasil Fidelidade. In addition, Afrocard offers several benefits: discounts on medication; home care, automobile, funeral and accidental death assistance; networking network, a drawing of ten thousand reais per month and an app with exclusive benefits.
Created in 2018, D’Black Bank digital bank targets the Brazilian population of African descent. It offers debureaucratization and the best credit conditions in the market. The bank’s objective is to facilitate the economic life of the black population, which is the portion that suffers most from acts of discrimination in physical banks.
Founded by the publicist Sérgio All in 2017, Conta Black is the first digital account targeting black people in the country. The idea came about after Sérgio had his credit request denied. It is aimed at dispelling the financial exclusion, serving mainly classes C, D and E and has more than two thousand people, 80% of whom are black. The forecast for the first semester of 2021 was to reach the mark of 50 thousand clients. One of the advantages of Conta Black is obtaining credit without bureaucracy, accompanied by financial education.
It seems that we only woke up to the variety of virtual banks after that lamentable fact. But the starting point for most of the initiatives listed in this matter was 2017, when the Black Money Movement (MBM) emerged in Brazil. Organized by administrator Nina Silva and financial educator Alan Soares, the project has brought innovations year after year. Like the payment machine, Pretinha, the digital bank, D’Black Bank and the marketplace called Mercado Black Money. In addition, throughout the pandemic, MBM has granted the population a benefit similar to emergency aid.