Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


The 10 Major Brazilian Banks

Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


This article will give you an overview of the 10 major banks in Brazil in terms of assets and importance in the Brazilian economic scenario.

1 - Banco Bradesco Financiamentos

Founded in 1943, in the city of Marília, São Paulo, Banco Bradesco is the second largest private bank in Brazil. It is currently headquartered in Osasco, SP, at Companhia Cidade de Deus.

Over its almost 70 years of existence, Bradesco has acquired several financial institutions in Brazil, such as Banco do Estado do Maranhão, Banco Morada, Banco de Crédito Nacional (BCN), Banco do Estado do Ceará and Banco Boavista. In 2006, Bradesco took over the American Express credit card operations in Brazil.

Banco Bradesco numbers are:

  • 1,4 million shareholders
  • 95.248 employees
  • 3.235 offices
  • Profit: US$ 6, billion

Official website:

2 – Caixa Econômica Federal

Founded in 1861, Caixa Econômica Federal is a public bank owned by the federal government and is the only working with FGTS, PIS and the payment of unemployment insurance. It is also where all benefits offered by the federal government, such as Bolsa Família, are paid.

Its expertise is banking services, FGTS, PIS, unemployment insurance and other initiatives made by the federal government, such as Programa Minha Casa, Minha Vida.

Caixa Econômica Federal numbers are:

  • 2229 offices
  • 10954 casas lotéricas
  • 81 500 employees
  • Profit: US$ 1,7 billion

Official website:

3 – HSBC

HSBC is a commercial and an investment bank organized within four business groups: commercial banking; global banking and markets; personal financial services and global private banking. Present in 87 countries, HSBC is present in Brazil since 1997 and is headquarted in Curitiba, PR.

HSBC numbers in Brazil are:

  • 933 offices
  • 25.122 employees
  • Assets in 2005: US$ 61.7 billion

Official website:

4 – Banco J Safra S/A

Banco Safra is one of the 10 major Brazilian banks, operating in all banking divisions, focusing on companies and upper-class customers. Established in 1955, it is headquartered in São Paulo.

Banco Safra numbers are:

  • 100 offices
  • 5605 employees
  • Assets in 2011: 86,9 billion

Official website:

5 – Banco Itaú

Since the acquisition of Unibanco, in 2008, Itaú saw its market value increase 120%, becoming one of the 10 major banks in the world and the largest financial conglomerate in Latin America.

Headquartered in São Paulo, Itaú is a branch of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA. It has operations in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, England, Luxembourg, Portugal, USA, Japan, China and United Arab Emirates. Its major focus is financial services, such as commercial and corporate banking, besides insurance, assets management and capitalization plans.

Itaú numbers are:

  • 4,8 thousand offices
  • 14,5 million clients
  • More than 190.000 employees
  • Total assets: US$ 456 billion in 2011

Official website:

6 – Banco do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul S/A

Banco do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul (or simply Banrisul), is a state-owned bank focused on business in Southern Brazil. Present in 364 cities, most of them concentrated in Rio Grande do Sul state, Banrisul is headquartered in the city of Porto Alegre and its major focus are banking services.

Banrisul numbers are:

  • 438 offices and 500 ATMs
  • 9.762 employees
  • Total assets of US$ 22 billion in 2011

Official website:

7 – Banco PanAmericano S/A

Founded by Grupo Silvio Santos in 1969, PanAmericano has operated as a multi-service bank since 1991, having started its credit card operations in 1994. PanAmericano Seguros was incorporated to the bank in 1999.

In 2009 Caixa Econômica Federal bought part of the bank's shares and became the second largest shareholder of the institution.

Banco PanAmericano numbers are:

  • 237 offices
  • 2.425.464 active clients
  • 3 million credit cards
  • Total assets of US$ 7.7 billion

Official website:

8 – Banco Santander

Santander fisrt came to Brazil in 1982, but it was only in 1991 that Santander Investment operations have begun. The Brazilian operation is considered to be the most important one, being responsible for 25% of the bank profit.

In 1997 Grupo Santander acquired Banco Geral do Comércio and in 1998 and the control of Banco Banespa. In 2008 it acquired the Latin American operation of ABN Amro Bank and became the third major bank in Brazil in terms of assets.

Banco Santander numbers in Brazil are:

  • 1897 offices
  • 7119 ATMs
  • More than 6,7 million clients
  • Total assets of US$ 222,210 billion

Official website:

9 – Banco do Brasil

Banco do Brasil is the largest Brazilian and Latin American bank in terms of assets and third by market value.

Headquartered in Brasília, Banco do Brasil was founded in 1808 and is the oldest active bank in Brazil. The bank is controlled by the Brazilian government and since 2000 it is one of the four most-profitable Brazilian banks, holding a strong leadership position in retail banking.

Its major services are the issuance of boletos, ATM loans, automatic payments, and the account holder may apply for international Mastercard and Visa debit cards. Also, the bank has got offices I several locations throughout the world, such as Amsterdan, Buenos Aires, Dubai, La Paz, Miami, New York City, Santiago and others.

Banco do Brasil numbers are:

  • 5.000 offices
  • 40.000 ATMs
  • 110.000 employees
  • Total assets of US$ 566.3 billion in 2011

Official website:

10 – Citibank

Citibank Brasil is headquartered in São Paulo and is a branch of Citigroup FNC, the largest multi-bank in the world. The bank came to Brazil in 1915 and is present in 21 of the 26 Brazilian states.

Citibank in numbers:

  • 103 offices
  • 11.500 ATMs
  • More than 2.000 employees
  • Total assets: US$ 272.218,27 in 2011

Official website:

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