In the Spotlight

Oct 1, 2006

Banco Itaú, our Bank of the Year, has had another blockbuster year studded with bold acquisitions and savvy new business lines.

When Brazilian financial group Banco Itaú announced its tie up with US financial powerhouse Bank of America earlier this year, it was clear that the spotlight – perhaps brighter than ever – would be on the bank and its dynamic CEO, Roberto Setúbal. Months later, the flashbulbs are still popping as Itaú moves into Chile and Uruguay. Not only has the Brazilian bank stood its ground at home in a fiercely competitive market. It's now leading the regional charge as well for local financial firms looking to expand in Latin America.

The glare aside, Itaú has been a pillar of profitability for many years. According to Brazilian consultancy Economática, Itaú was the most profitable publicly listed bank in the world last year, with a return on equity of 35.3%. Furthermore, and in spite of some rocky economic times in Brazil, that performance hasn't dipped below...

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