Brazil was once an investor’s dream country. Five years ago, Brazil was a big reason the BRICS emerging market union was so successful. BRICS is the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But now all of those countries, except for India, are struggling to keep their Gross Domestic Product output in the positive column. Brazil’s economy took a major nose dive four years ago, and the economy is still shaky.
But Brazilian banks like Bradesco and Banco Itaú are beginning to show foreign investors that Brazil is back. Bradesco is a Wall Street favorite. One reason Bradesco is getting a lot of attention is the 29 percent year-to-date revenue increase over the same time last year. Luiz Carlos Trabuco is Bradesco’s CEO, and he is one of the men who is making Wall Street pay attention to the bank again.
Brazilian President Michel Temer is reaching out and trying to get Brazil’s investment grade up to a decent number, so more investors feel comfortable with Brazilian companies. There’s no doubt that the 66-year-old Trabuco is going to stay around long enough to keep the bank’s momentum going. After all, Mr. Trabuco is a 37-year banking veteran, and all of those years are Bradesco years. Trabuco cut his banking teeth at Bradesco. He’s been an employee since 1969.
Trabuco is not a typical bank executive. He doesn’t have an accounting or finance degree. He has a post-graduate degree in psychology and an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of São Paulo. Trabuco knows how to manage a bank because he went from one banking division to another during his training period. In 2003, Bradesco gave him their insurance division, Banco Seguros to manage. Trabuco was a special kind of president when he was with Seguros. He was the kind of president that gave Bradesco 30 percent of their yearly profits. At the end of 2008, after almost five years of profit increase after profit increase, Trabuco took over as president of Banco Bradesco.
There was no fanfare when Trabuco took over as president. All the bank executives were happy when the news hit the press. Luiz is that kind of manager. Customers and employees know they are in good hands. Trabuco is a bank manager that gives back to the cities through Bradesco branch offices. Bradesco has more than 5,000 branches and thousands of ATMs across the country. Trabuco and his executive team try to keep in touch with all branch employees in one way or another. Not bad for a man who grew up in a small city in the state of São Paulo. Mr. Trabuco may be looking for his replacement, but he is still working long hours to make sure his bank stays in the good graces of Wall Street.
Even though banks profits are better than ever, the country still needs foreign investors to keep the economy moving in the right direction. Brazil’s investment grade was a -470 before Temer, and now the grade is 195. Brazil lost its investment grade in 2015, and according to Temer, he will bring investors back to Brazil. Temer credits his success to labor reforms, more jobs, lower interest rates, and the country’s high school curriculum. Trabuco and other bank presidents know attracting foreign investors depends on things like consumer spending, and more loan money and low inflation.
Bradesco is doing more to make investors aware of the opportunities in Brazil by developing environmental and education programs that help people understand climate change and other issues. The bank also gives students a chance for a better education. Bradesco helps more than 100,000 students every year.
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