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Brazilian banking: Itaú sets sights on expansion beyond Brazil

Setubal wants to buy outside Brazil; Barbosa confident that Santander Real merger will be complete within a year

Roberto Setúbal, Itaú Unibanco

"We have a very strong share of the banking system in Brazil and now we should look beyond Brazil’s borders more"

Roberto Setúbal, Itaú Unibanco

Roberto Setúbal, chief executive of Itaú Unibanco, has never been shy about showing his ambition. Following the acquisition of Unibanco in November, he is already thinking about his next move – and this time it might be cross-border.

"Since our merger with Unibanco, we believe that the next step will be a more international move, not just a local step. We have a very strong share of the banking system in Brazil and now we should look beyond Brazil’s borders more," says Setúbal.

"Itaú is present in the Mercosur countries [Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay] already but we want to be a regional bank," he adds. "However, despite the rumours we are not looking at Banamex [Citi’s bank in Mexico] now. We recognize that it is a great franchise but we have never had talks with Citi along those lines. If one day Citi does decide to sell, which isn’t the case now, then we will look at it."

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