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BNDES will apply stricter lending criteria, new CEO says

Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social, or BNDES, will adopt more rigorous criteria when making lending decisions despite liquidity in excess of 150 billion Brazilian reais, said its new CEO, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported.

The recently appointed CEO Paulo Rabello Castro spoke to the press June 1 prior to his inauguration ceremony and said the state-run bank would make it a priority to resume industrial investments.

"We have to take good care of this new investment demand rate," Castro was quoted as saying, adding he hopes to see the bank reach an annual growth rate of 5%.

According to the publication, Castro's predecessor, Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, had been criticized for "sitting on liquidity" and stalling credit expansion.

Castro praised the bank's former CEO, however, and said that disbursements started to fall the day after the re-election of Dilma Rousseff in 2014 and only stabilized under the entry of Marques' leadership.

Marques resigned as the bank's CEO in May citing personal reasons even though her performance had reportedly been receiving criticism prior to her decision.

The BNDES executive declined to answer when asked what he would do differently than Marques per running the bank. "I do not even know what I will do the same," he said at the press conference.

Castro affirmed the bank "has the capacity" to finance investments but said it will not create investment opportunities. "If there was no borrowing under way, it was because there was no demand," Folha de São Paulo quoted Castro as saying.

"My commitment is that where there is demand, there will be supply," Castro noted when asked about low disbursement figures, adding the bank will stimulate investment and the "main actor" is the entrepreneur "especially the small one."

Per the ongoing federal investigation regarding the misuse of BNDES' loan funds by meatpacker JBS SA, the executive said he planned to treat the firm with the "rigor" that it "deserves," adding that he didn't provide approval for information that was released May 31 on BNDES' website defending the legality of operations tied to JBS.

As of June 1, US$1 was equivalent to 3.23 Brazilian reais.