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OPINION

Banco do Brasil piles the pressure on Bradesco

Banco do Brasil’s outstanding second quarter means that scrutiny will intensify at its domestic rival.


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Banco do Brasil’s second quarter results led to an exclamation of shocked surprise from one Santander analyst, whose report carried the headline: ‘BBAS3 porrada!’ Depending on your translation of Brazilian slang, this may or may not be a palavrao (swear word) – a surprisingly complicated question, judging from the opinions of the Brazilians I polled on the subject – but it refers to a fight, or brawl.

What’s surely more certain is that the state bank’s surprising set of results will have turned the air blue at Bradesco. It’s one thing for Santander Brasil to have knocked Bradesco out of the top two Brazilian banks by profitability. It is quite another for state-run Banco do Brasil to report significantly superior return on equity (ROE): 20.6% when compared to Bradesco’s 18.1%.

And no-one saw it coming. Yes, Euromoney has been tracking the clear improvement in Banco do Brasil’s performance in recent years, awarding the institution the award for best banking transformation in Latin America in 2019. Recently, the steady improvement in cost management, which continued in the latest quarter, with expenses rising at a below-inflation annualized rate of 5.7%,