Brazil: Portuguese Bank Banif widens branch network and starts providing consumer loans

19 March 2008

São Paulo, Brazil, 19 Mar – Portuguese bank Banif has widened its branch network in Brazil and re-launched its consumer loan activity in this market, the president of Banif Brasil said Tuesday in Sao Paulo.

In statements made to Portuguese news agency, Lusa, Júlio Rodrigues said that the re-launch of finance company LusoCred was taking place at a time of strong economic growth in Brazil, which posted economic growth of 5.7 percent year on year in 2007.

LusoCred will provide customers with loans to buy vehicles, domestic appliances and construction materials, as well as personal loans.

Banif’s management has said that in Brazil a similar process is unfolding to that in Portugal in the 1980s with the reduction of interest rates and a rise in consumer credit.

Banif is also implementing the already announced widening of itsnetwork and recently opened another branch in São Paulo, one in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais) and another in Curitiba (Paraná), raising to 12 the total number of branches in Brazil.

Rodrigues also said that the aim was to have 18 branches by the end of the year, with operations in new markets, such as Campinas, in the state of Sao Paulo, and Fortaleza, capital of Ceará.

Banif’s network is currently in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), as well as one office in Recife (Pernambuco), with a total of 50.000 customers.

The group also owns an investment bank, the broker Banif Investe, one of the biggest in the Brazilian market and is appraising insurance and mortgage markets.

Banif started operating in the Brazilian market in 1999, with the acquisition of a stake in Banco Primus, and is now on the Brazilian central bank’s list of the 50 largest banks operating in Brazil. (macauhub)