(Bloomberg) -- Nu Holdings Ltd., the Brazilian digital bank that has been battling incumbent lenders for the past decade, surpassed Itau Unibanco Holding SA as the most-valuable financial institution in Latin America.

The stock of Nubank, as the firm is known, closed 3.8% higher on Tuesday. That boosted its market capitalization to $58.2 billion, putting it just ahead of Itau, which stood at about $56 billion. 

It’s the first time their values cross on a closing basis since early 2022 — the days after Nubank went public. The change is being driven by a massive rally in the fintech firm’s shares, which got a boost following strong first-quarter results and are up 46% this year. 

Nubank, which counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Sequoia Capital among its backers, started off by offering low-limit credit cards and user-friendly mobile apps to cater to all classes of Brazilians. 

It later expanded into Mexico and Colombia and has become one “of the most attractive names across emerging markets,” said Ramiz Chelat, a portfolio manager at Vontobel Asset Management. “They took their time in terms of growing their customer base in Brazil and then taking risk. And that’s clearly what we’re seeing in Mexico as well.”

Nubank added 5.5 million customers in a quarter that saw revenue of $2.7 billion. It has reached the key metric of 100 million customers across its three markets of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, the company said earlier this month. The Sao Paulo-based firm is the first digital banking platform to reach the milestone outside of Asia.

Its share price rally has also propelled some of its co-founders into the billionaires club. Chief Executive Officer David Velez had a net worth of $11.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Co-founder Cristina Junqueira’s stake is worth more than $1.5 billion. 

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.