Greatest Hits Episode: Luis Rubén Chávez: Helping Mexicans build their financial health, Ep 203

For this week on the Crossing Borders podcast, we’re revisiting one of our greatest hits episodes featuring Luis Rubén Chávez, founder and CEO of Zenfi.

Luis Rubén Chávez, co-founder and CEO of Zenfi, is changing the way people in Mexico think about financial health. Zenfi is a complete digital finance platform focused on lending that strives for the financial health of its customers. With more than 2.5 million users, the platform provides customers with tools to build a consistent long-term financial plan. 

Zenfi offers an app that reviews clients’ credit bureaus for free. They provide personalized diagnostics, tips to improve the customer’s profile, and identity theft alerts. Also, Zenfi helps those who need a personal loan, debt consolidation, or car insurance by reviewing their information and recommending products according to their needs.

Before starting Zenfi, Luis Rubén worked in finance for eight years. He witnessed first-hand its inefficiencies, high concentration, and sometimes abusive practices that don’t help the user in the longer term. Banks offer 60+ products and services but execute poorly a large percentage of them, and fintechs are filling this gap in the market. With the new fintechs that are emerging, Luis Rubén thinks Mexico will have in 5 years a completely different financial system.

Listen to this episode to hear how Luis Rubén is raising awareness about the inefficient lending system in Mexico, what Zenfi is doing to provide a healthier alternative for people, and how the company is expanding its services by offering a marketplace of financial products. 

Diversifying the financial system in Mexico

Banks own the credit bureau in Mexico, which reports only negative credit ratings of individuals. The five largest banks in Mexico hold 80-85% of the country’s consumer portfolio, and this high concentration means there is little to no competition. Many financial institutions have conflicts of interest and few incentives to build better data and technological products and services. 

Mexicans perceive credit scores as a black box, filled with misconceptions that lead them to make adverse choices. Luis Rubén was part of the problem working within the financial system, but in this episode of Crossing Borders, he explains how he is now part of the solution.

Demystifying credit scores for Mexico’s population

Zenfi’s most attractive product is its free credit score check. The company analyzes the customer’s information and provides them with a complete and user-friendly diagnosis. Also, it gives useful and detailed information such as the impact that each variable has on the score, and parameters to understand your strengths and weaknesses to see what you have to improve. The company has nailed a feature that millions of Mexicans need in an inefficient system that has few incentives to help them maintain a good credit score.

Listen to this Crossing Borders episode to learn how Zenfi will continue to attract millions of users to its platform.

A marketplace for financial products

Users needed a bigger picture for making a long-term personal finance plan, so Zenfi started offering a marketplace where fintechs sell, for example, their mortgage, insurance, and credit card products. Zenfi’s marketplace shows the best financial products that its users can have access to. Zenfi’s lending criteria sometimes cannot give users a loan, so the company refers them to another fintech where they might have a product that serves them. 

Check out this episode of Crossing Borders to understand how Zenfi is taking a hybrid approach by offering its products and a marketplace with the best fintechs in Mexico. 

Outline of this episode:

  • [01:09] – About Zenfi 
  • [02:10] – Zenfi’s credit scores
  • [03:22] – Misconceptions and inefficiencies of the credit scoring system
  • [05:20] – Zenfi in numbers
  • [08:47] – Luis Rubén’s background
  • [11:10] – Why is the traditional financial system stalled?
  • [15:30] – Zenfi’s fintech marketplace
  • [19:31] – The fintech ecosystem in Mexico in the last 5 years
  • [25:10] – Reading recommendations
  • [28:01] – Advice for a younger Luis Rubén
  • [31:45] – The future of Zenfi

Resources & People mentioned:

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