Mexican unicorn Stori buys MasCaja, snagging new license

By Valentine Hilaire

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican fintech Stori on Thursday announced the acquisition of MasCaja, a financial firm that will provide it a license to broaden its product portfolio in a market where many lack access to financial services.

Stori, which did not say how much it paid for the acquisition, said it could expand from credit cards and launch new services for savings and investing in the coming months.

"We want to take the next step to boost financial inclusion," Stori co-founder Marlene Garayzar told Reuters.

Stori, which reached unicorn status last year, already offers credit cards with lines starting at 500 Mexican pesos ($28), in a country where government data shows less than 35% of the adult population has formal credit.

Savings accounts follow the pattern, with less than half of the adult population holding one.

Earlier this year, Stori said it had reached 2 million users.

Mexico-based non-bank lenders have come under financial pressure to become licensed banks to lend customer deposits rather than relying on credit markets.

Other Latin American fintechs have made moves this year to tap into Mexico's underserved market, including Argentine unicorn Uala, which introduced a high-yield savings account in June following its acquisition of Mexico's ABC Capital Bank.

Brazilian lender Nubank saw more than 1 million people sign up for its savings account just one month after its May launch. It acquired the same license as Stori late last year.

($1 = 17.5722 Mexican pesos)

(Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Leslie Adler)