Capital One Opening Tech Center In Mexico

Capital One is the latest foreign bank to enter the Mexican financial sector. However, it will not compete directly with BBVA or Banco Santander, given that the initial hirings suggest a focus on generating technology products for the North American market.

Mexico’s banking regulations mean that institutions must wait considerably for oversight checks to be completed. There is currently a backlog of at least five foreign banks—Banco Plata, Banco Masari, Banco ION, Konfío and Nu Mexico—awaiting their banking license. UK unicorn Revolut only recently passed its final test.

Starting with DevOps and human resources, Capital One aims for a 1,500-employee workforce of Mexicans or permanent residents over the next three years. Specifically, the bank is looking for creative professionals in technology, financial regulations and software development. Given the high demand for such workers, the bank is determined to create a startup environment.

According to El Financiero’s Jonathan Ruiz Torre, Capital One left no stone unturned in its search for the right employees. “Their representatives went to a … speakeasy in the Juárez neighborhood, one of those legal, but provocatively dark bars that allude to the clandestine atmosphere of the era of whiskey ban in the United States,” he wrote.

Those at these informal talks revealed a desire for technological products and services and managing complete end-to-end ownership for global customers. This technology center will likely be headed by Judith González, vice president of technology at Capital One in Mexico.

Some observers have suggested that this is a move to cut costs or increase available talent. Others point out the need for the bank to differentiate itself in a saturated market, such as in credit cards, where there are over 4,000 issuers.

Should Mexico’s nearshoring boom come to pass with estimates of $30 billion to $40 billion worth of foreign direct investment from this alone, Capital One would be well placed to take advantage of the “superpeso” phenomena. Capital One will be the sixth-largest bank in the US, following the closing of the $35 billion purchase of Discover Financial Services announced in February.