The Bank of the Year

Nov 1, 2010

Brazil’s government-controlled lender is using a natural size advantage to pursue niches it does not already dominate. Careful international expansion is next for Banco do Brasil.

by Ben Miller

The credit crisis was less cruel to LatAm banks than to many global peers. For government-controlled banks, it may turn out to have been a boon.

Banco do Brasil (BdB), Latin America’s largest bank by assets, was among the many government channels for counter-cyclical policy during the credit crisis. Meanwhile, private sector competitors played conservative during the period. With growth returning to Brazil and the region in the past year, BdB has shown no sign of relinquishing the role, or the market share it has gained.

BdB is the 37th largest bank in the world by market cap, according to the FT, lagging Itaú (11th), Bradesco (25th) and Santander Brasil (34th). BdB steadily climbed up from 39th place in 2009, and 64th in 2006. BdB had $83.4 billion market cap, as of mid-September, compared to $157 billion for Itaú Unibanco, $107.7 billion for Bradesco, and $84.3...

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