(Adds CEO comments, share reaction)
By Carolina Mandl
SAO PAULO, July 23 (Reuters) - Banco Santander Brasil SA will launch an online platform in September, allowing Brazilians to borrow funds using a wide range of collateral, from their homes to motorcycles, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Rial told journalists on Tuesday.
“Secured loans can be between 2 and 3 percentage points cheaper,” he said. “We are following the fintechs’ trend.”
Rial said the move - the first among major banks in Brazil - is aimed at offering cheaper loans for consumers with useable collateral. The announcement came days after Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp led a $231 million financing round for Brazilian lending platform Creditas, which has specialized in loans secured by assets.
Santander’s venture capital fund Santander Innoventures is also among the investors in Creditas.
Consumer lending has driven growth at Santander Brasil, which has accounted for 29% of its Spanish parent’s second-quarter profits. On Tuesday, the bank reported a 20.2% rise in recurring net income to 3.635 billion reais.
It has been outpacing rivals in part by lending to clients shunned by other mainstream banks. Rial, however, has assured investors there would not be a deterioration in asset quality.
Santander Brasil’s loan book grew by 2.2% in the second quarter, reaching 317.6 billion reais. The rise was mainly driven by consumer loans, as demand from companies remained weak.
Analysts at Itaú BBA said in a note to clients that its loan book slowed down in the second quarter, but continued to expand at a “decent pace.”
The bank’s profitability, measured by its return on equity, came in at 21.3%, keeping an upward trend and 0.2 percentage point above the first quarter.
Loan loss provisions in the quarter jumped 8.5% from a year earlier. Still, the bank notched a rise in net interest income - the difference between what a bank pays to borrow money and what it charges customers for loans.
Its 90-day delinquency rate was 3%, slightly below the previous quarter.
Madrid-based Banco Santander SA posted an 18% drop in second-quarter net profit due to restructuring costs related to its acquisition of Banco Popular and a weak performance in Britain.
$1 = 3.7412 reais Reporting by Carolina Mandl, additional reporting by Paula Laier, editing by Bernadette Baium and David Gregorio