Banking: Why Itaú sticks to what it knows best
The bank’s chief executive says it has little interest in risky opportunities in foreign emerging markets when it is based in the world’s strongest emerging market – one it fully understands. Rob Dwyer reports.
Roberto Setúbal: focus on becoming a truly regional bank
WHEN THE PRESIDENT of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, decides to try to make his country the financial centre of the developing world, he has little trouble persuading the state-owned banks to support his vision. Or, rather, as the rumours have it, he had little trouble in replacing the chief executive of Banco do Brasil with a banker more inclined to pursue an expansionist agenda. Lima Neto’s resignation in April 2009 was reportedly forced on him; he was paying the price of Lula’s frustration at the leading state bank’s failure to lower interest rates and to more aggressively expand its presence in emerging markets. Aldemir Bendine, former vice-president for new business and credit cards, became Banco do Brasil’s new chief executive on April 23 2009.
On August 9 2010, the Brazilian finance minister, Guido Mantega, told journalists gathered at a press conference in São Paulo: "The African continent is the future". The event was held to announce that Banco do Brasil, in partnership with privately owned Brazilian bank Bradesco and Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo (BES), was to form a holding company to consolidate BES’s African investments.