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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, chief executive of Itaú Unibanco, sits on the board and is also a member of the council of the International Monetary Conference and of the international advisory committees of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New York Stock Exchange

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.

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