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New Caixa chief says bank will focus on SME lending, stake sales

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New Caixa chief says bank will focus on SME lending, stake sales

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro named Pedro Duarte Guimarães the new chief of state-run Caixa Econômica Federal, according to an executive decree signed by him and by economic minister Paulo Guedes.

In a post-ceremonial conference, Guimarães said the bank's target lending customer would shift from large corporations to small- and medium-sized enterprises, which he defined as being the "natural vocation" of the institution alongside house financing.

"Caixa can not have more than 100 billion [reais] in credit to large companies," he reportedly said, while also noting that he would work closely with fellow government-controlled Banco do Brasil SA to avoid overlapping activities and pursue cost efficiency. In a separate decree, Rubem Novaes was confirmed as the new chief of Banco do Brasil.

Guimarães, who has a Ph.D. in economics from the U.S.-based University of Rochester, confirmed that the Brazilian banking major would sell its stake in at least two subsidiaries in 2019 — Caixa Seguridade Participações SA and Caixa Cartões — through IPO processes, local media reported.

In a December 2018 study, it was estimated that Caixa could collect roughly 60 billion Brazilian reais in four years from the planned stake sales in companies including Caixa Seguridade, Caixa Cartões, Caixa Loterias, Caixa Banco Digital and Caixa Gestão de Recursos.

As of Jan. 2, US$1 was equivalent to 3.81 Brazilian reais.