Money matters - Banking in Brazil
Banks in Brazilof today are both efficient and among the best run in the world, due to the very latest, cutting edge technology.
There are things that can be accomplished at most Brazilian banks that are hardly possible yet at banks in the USA.
For example, in addition to all utilizations of American ATMs, at banks in Brazil you can also pay any bill and print full account statements and blank checks by ATM.
Furthermore, banking gets even more effortless in the near future, because
Internet bankingis also thriving in Brazil.
While banks in the USA and Europe are providing some form of electronic bill paying service by internet, they only offer in dribs and drabs the service of electronically transferring funds from checking accounts to that of any other private individual.
Brazilian banksreliably and easily accomplish this and they do it fast as well.
So, in Brazil, it is possible to electronically transfer funds to anybody, even at a different bank, anywhere in Brazil. The amount will be in the other account by the time the account holder wakes up the next morning; most often even the very same day.
|Brazilian banks also offer a wide range of
financial products and services, in addition to the usual banking products and services provided by most American banks.
You can think of stocks, bonds, futures, all kinds of insurance, investments, retirement plans, futures, currency trading and other products.
In general, normal
banking hours in Brazilare from Monday until Friday, 10 am until 4 pm, except for holidays.
Banco do Brasil, by far the largest retail bank in Brazil, has a full branch office in most Brazilian cities of any size.
Important banks in Brazil are:
Banco do Brasil
|Brazil's state-owned bank is not only the most common bank in the general Brazilian street scene, but also the largest Latin American bank by assets and the third by market value. Banco do Brasil was founded in 1808 and is the oldest active bank in Brazil and one of the oldest financial institutions in the world.|
The headquarters of Banco do Brasil are in Brasilia. Although government controlled, Banco do Brasil’s stock is traded at BM&F Bovespa, the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange. It holds a strong leadership position in retail banking. Its 2011 net revenues amounts US$ 6.5 billion.
Itau Unibanco group
|This is a Brazilian bank with its headquarters in Sao Paulo. Itau Unibanco was founded in the year 2008 after the merger of the financial institutions Itaú and Unibanco. After the merger, Itaú Unibanco's became the largest bank in Brazil with over 120,000 employees and the largest financial conglomerate in Latin America.|
Itau Unibanco is present in more than sixteen countries and is the tenth largest bank in the world. In December 2010 the market value of the merged bank was more than US$ 110 billion.
|Banco Bradeso is one of the largest financial institutions in Brazil. It was the largest private bank in Brazil until Banco Itaú and Unibanco merged in 2008. The headquarters are in Osasco, a city in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area.|
Besides a bank division, it is also a large player in the field of insurance and operating in the credit card business. The entire conglomerate has three thousand offices across Brazil and also branches in the United States, Japan and Luxembourg. In addition to the Bovespa's Bradesco, it is also listed at the New York Stock Exchange.
Other notable banks in Brazil include among others:
Caixa Economica Federal
|Another large financial institution, established on 12 January 1861 by Emperor Dom Pedro II himself.|
Caixa is a commercial bank with no share holders, other than the government. Its major function is to finance the civil and construction sectors. With more than 38 million customers Caixa Economica Federal is an important player at the Brazilian financial market.
|The Brazilian branch of the Spanish financial giant Santander is its largest division in Latin America, accounting for 20% of the total profit of the banking group.|
HSBC Bank Brasil
|This Brazilian bank was established in 1997 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, a British multinational banking and financial services company. HSBC Bank Brasil serves about 30 million customers in Brazil.|
Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES)
|This Rio de Janeiro based bank, 100% owned by the Federal Government, was founded in 1952. BNDES is the main provider of long-term financing in Brazil.|
BNDES is the largest development bank in Latin America. The Brazilian Development Bank offers several financial support mechanisms to Brazilian companies as well as public administration entities.
|Much of the efficiency of Brazilian banks is due to the Central Bank of Brazil, the Brazilian equivalent of the US Federal Reserve Bank. The Central Bank supplies technology, supervision and reliability by use if its SISBACEN (Information Database System) and a Brazilian Payments System.|
Both making inter banking transactions reliable and efficient in Brazil.
Interest rates are very high in Brazil. That is in case of payment. For example, the interest rate for credit card balances hovers between 8% and 10% per month and will increase severely in case your payment is ever late (over 30 days): expect to pay an additional 50%! On the other hand, savings accounts usually earn interest at a rate of between only ½ and 1% per month.
As mentioned elsewhere, Brazil's currency is the real (plural = reais) and was first introduced in June, 1994.
At its introduction, the Real Brasileiro was on a relatively equal par with the US dollar. While no longer there, the inflation busting real has continued to help provide financial stability for Brazil. The rampant inflation of the early 1990s (often at over 1% per day, causing interest rates to soar to 20% to 30+% per month!) is now a only distant memory.