Brazil’s leading banks: Profitability holds up – so far
Third-quarter results from Brazil’s leading banks – released at the end of October and the beginning of November – weren’t expected to have too many surprises. After all, most of the troubles that have affected the banking system after the period covered by the figures. The fourth-quarter results will be the first to show the true extent of problems.
State-owned Banco do Brasil, the country’s largest bank (until the Itaú-Unibanco merger is complete) announced an impressive increase in third-quarter profits of 37% and in recurring income of 24%. The bank grew its credit book by an aggressive 35% – consumer loans increased 45%.
Figures from Banco Itaú and Banco Bradesco – the country’s two largest privately owned banks by assets – also gave little indication of the strains beginning to afflict the banking system and growth and profitability remained impressive. Bradesco increased its profit by 5.6% to R$1.9 billion while lending rose by 41%. Itaú’s third-quarter profits (after one-time gains recorded last year) rose 25.5% to R$1.97 billion. Both banks cut their expectations for loan growth in 2009: to 20% (Bradesco) and 10-15% (Itaú).
Similarly, profits at Unibanco rose by 5.5% (after removing the one-time gain from the sale of its stake in a credit-card transactions processing company a year earlier) to R$704 million.