Mexico’s Bankaool plans US stock market debut by 2026

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 1:47 PM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican lender Bankaool expects to debut on the U.S. stock market by early 2026, a top executive said, as parent company Grupo OMNi looks to raise money to fund the lender’s growth.

Bankaool, a small lender which currently holds some 0.1% of the country’s financial assets, has focused on its business-to-business segment but is now betting on rapid growth from consumer borrowers through a mobile application.

Moises Chaves, the lender’s deputy chief executive, told Reuters the company hoped the debut would “continue strengthening the bank’s scale and operations.”

Bankaool, based in the northern state of Chihuahua, expects to finish 2024 with two million digital platform users on the app it launched last November, up from the 75,000 it currently has. It also hopes to add new branches throughout the country.

“If we do our job well with the app, no one will have to enter the branches, but we do not want to lose that capacity and we want roots in all areas,” Chaves said. The bank currently counts 22 branches in Chihuahua and one in Mexico City.

The bank is also in the process of buying a U.S. lender in order to lend to U.S. companies planning to build manufacturing capacity in Mexico and to serve Mexicans living abroad who are sending increasing amounts of money back to their home country.

Chaves did not give further information on the deal, but said the company planned to continue to “follow the migrant route.”

“If the data shows us that after Mexico, the most important market for remittances is El Salvador, then we would open operations there, by acquiring a bank and so on,” he said.

Bankaool was acquired last year by Grupo OMNi, a U.S.-registered tech firm of Costa Rican origin. The company has invested around $138 million in boosting Bankaool’s finances and digital capacity.

(Reporting by Noe Torres; Editing by Michael Erman)