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Banco do Brasil S.A.
Type Public (BM&F Bovespa: BBAS3)
Founded Brazil Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1808)
Headquarters Brazil Brasília, Brazil
Key people Aldemir Bendine, (CEO)
Industry Banking
Products Finance and Insurance
Revenue US$ 43.9 billion (2008)
Profit US$ 5.8 Billion (2009)
Total assets US$ 406.9 Billion (2009)
Employees 109,000
Subsidiaries Banco Nossa Caixa, Banco Votorantim
Banco do Brasil Headquarters in Brasília.

Banco do Brasil S.A. (English: Bank of Brazil) is the major Brazilian and Latin bank by assets. The bank, headquartered in Brasília, was founded in 1808 and is the oldest active bank in Brazil — and one of the oldest financial institutions in the world.

Banco do Brasil is controlled by the Brazilian government but its stock is traded at the São Paulo Stock Exchange and its management follows standard international banking practices (Basel Accords). Since 2000 it is one of the four most-profitable Brazilian banks (the others being Itaú Unibanco, Bradesco, and Santander Brasil) and holds a strong leadership in retail banking.



Banco do Brasil was founded by then prince-regent João VI of Portugal to finance the kingdom's public debt when he moved from Europe to Brazil, in 1808. It went bankrupt two times in history: one in 1821, when the regent-prince returned to Portugal taking with him the bank's assets, and the second in 1898.

From 1821 to 1964 Banco do Brasil had sometimes performed tasks that exceeded its role as a traditional commercial bank, issuing currency, having the monopoly of currency exchange transactions and serving as National Treasury holder for the government. Such tasks were gradually given to other governmental institutions, mainly with the creation of the Central Bank of Brazil in 1964 and the separation from the National Treasury in 1987.

From 1992 onwards it was restructured as a commercial bank, using its huge geographic distribution and credit assets to leverage its redesign as a "normal" bank. In the process, tens of thousands of workers were laid off — most of them unskilled for any other job, many of whom expected to remain at the bank until retirement.

After decades of losses financed by the public treasury, the bank became very profitable and is one of the key structures used by the government to finance public programs, like "Fome Zero" (Zero Hunger) and DRS (Sustainable Regional Development).


Banco do Brasil office in São Paulo .

The current logo has been in use since the sixties, when the standard colors changed from brown and yellow to blue-grey-and yellow.

Since the early eighties the bank has sponsored several sports competitions (in sports such as beach soccer, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, futsal, sailing and beach volleyball). It is the official sponsor for Robert Scheidt, Gustavo Kuerten, and the Brazilian national beach soccer, volleyball and futsal teams.

The bank also sponsors other cultural events such as plays through its organization CCBB (Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil) and amateur sport through AABB (Associação Atlética Banco do Brasil).


Besides commercial and government services, the bank offers a large variety of services to the consumer including bill payment services, ATM loans, and a single package that contains the account numbers for checking, multiple savings accounts, and investment account. The account holder may apply for international Mastercard and Visa debit cards which act as both a credit card on a loan account, and as a debit card on the checking account (a little different from the arrangement in many other countries, where both the debit and credit functions of a debit card act on the checking account). The list of services offered encompass many complex automatic functions from ATMs and online such as a wide variety of loans, automatic payments, Brazilian bill payments, and deposits to other Brazilian accounts. Many merchants routinely accept account-to-account transfers as payment for goods.

International users

Accounts are intended for residents (temporary or permanent) of Brazil. As with any other banks in Brazil, documents required to open an account are:

  • a CPF registration;
  • a bonafide identity document, which can be an identity card, a Brazilian driver's license, a working permit, a passport or a special identity card;
  • a proof of residence (like a utility bill);
  • a recent paycheck or something else atesting your monthly income if you want to benefit from credit.

Documents will be photocopied and kept while the account is active.

Opening an account is quite straight-forward if you provide the required documents. A CPF card is obtainable by a foreigner in a few weeks with a passport and a birth certificate (Banco do Brasil itself is one of the places where you can apply for a CPF). Legal alien residents are given special identity cards which are bonafide nationwide.

The account is accessible at branches, ATMs and also online, some functions (like receiving a new ATM card) must be performed at the original branch (transferring an account from one branch to another is quite easy, anyway). Other than rudimentary credit or debit card transactions and payments from the checking account via the internet, it may be very difficult to make deposits from another country or to transfer large sums of money to another country without being present or having a proxy with power of attorney at the branch.

The account holder can have the CPF suspended or cancelled in case of not paying income taxes (this is not needed if you don't need to pay income tax nor apply for tax refunding). The account is frozen if the CPF lapses, and then it is a complicated process requiring in-person visits to renew it. The income taxes on investments are actually removed automatically from the accounts, and do not have to be reconciled with the government other than this simple online statement.

The array of services is huge with complex lists of taxes and automatic charges, and most services are described in Portuguese only. A security system requires that each computer be registered for use with advanced internet functions, and for this an auto-attendant password (and other passwords) must have been previously set up at the branch.

Banco do Brasil has a few branches in the USA (New York, Miami) and other countries. These branches are intended for use by large companies and for permanent residents of Brasil who visit the other countries, but they offer regular services for residents of the countries they are located at.'

Banco do Brasil has been expanding its international presence and currently has more than 44 points of service abroad, divided into branches, sub-branches, business units / offices and subsidiaries.

Offices and Subsidiaries

Interest rates

Interest rates on loans vary to a great extent but, being a public-owned bank that operates as a commercial venture, Banco do Brasil is not noted for having the highest, or the lowest rates either. Banco do Brasil is not the only Brazilian bank with high interest rates. The Economist "Survey of International Banking" of 20 May 2006 reports that the average Brazilian interest rate on credit cards is 222%, even though inflation is under control, expected to be 5% for 2006. Interest rates have decreased slowly, despite the Brazilian Central Bank recent policy of dropping standard interest rates (which were of 8.5% per month as of June 2009).

One of the reasons for the large array of automatic services (loans, payments, investments via ATM, telephone, or internet) is that because of historical high inflation (even hyperinflation of over 100% per year) and high interest rates in Brasil, the country has developed an array of automatic payments systems, with the ability to pay an electric bill, for instance on the "day before" the due date, and the ability to parcel credit card charges from merchants into 2 to 12 monthly installments each charged to the credit card. Merchants offer this option in advertisements and price signs throughout the stores, and offer a discount for charges "à vista" (paid all in one charge). This discount usually reflects a much lower effective interest rate than the rates on the credit card accounts, making this a popular option in Brasil. Banco do Brasil offers a "grace period", letting account holders pay the entire balance just before the due date with an automatic payment from the checking account, and not charging any interest. In conjunction with the parceled charges offered by merchants, this gives account holders a chance for much lower effective interest rates.

Relationship with the Government

Traditionally the CEO is appointed by the Brazilian president but usually picked from a list career directors. A few CEOs were taken from outside the financial industry.

Banco do Brasil has the monopoly of a number of government funding programs, like Pronaf (National Subsistence Farming Support), DRS, Fome Zero (zero hunger), PASEP , and others, and is the bank of choice for most municipal and state governments.

Working at Banco do Brasil

Because it is public-owned Banco do Brasil must recruit workers by a Concurso Público (public draft process) and carry on strict norms of business. Working at Banco do Brasil is still a desirable job in most of Brazil. These processes are usually made separately for each region, and the aproved candidates can be recruited to any branch in that region during the next two years in order of classification (it can be delayed for plus two years, once in each process). Candidates must be Brazilian nationals (or legal residents and naturalised) and must prove not to be in fault with their military and electoral obligations (both draft and vote are mandatory for all Brazilians from 18 to 70).

Other public owned Brazilian banks, like Caixa Econômica Federal, Banco da Amazônia, and Banco do Nordeste do Brasil also carry on similar processes but the one carried on by Banco do Brasil is the archetypal Concurso Público in Brazil.

Though at a time it was labelled an unnecessary and costly archaism, this selection process is now acknowledged, even internationally, as one of the sources of the bank's recent strength, as it attracts qualified people and ensures that only the ablest will enter.[citation needed]


External links



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