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CEO: Greater competition drives Banco do Brasil's conservative 2018 guidance

Banco do Brasil SA's conservative credit growth guidance in 2018 takes into account the likelihood of increased competition, Valor Econômico reported, citing the bank's President, CEO & Director Paulo Caffarelli.

The bank expects its expanded organic domestic loan portfolio to grow 1% to 4% this year.

According to Caffarelli, improvements in spreads — despite a declining Selic rate — could be achieved through people channels, especially payroll-deductible loans and micro, small and medium-sized credit efforts. The bank will also draw away focus on credit to large corporations.

Meanwhile, the bank expects 2018 to herald in a resumption of economic investments, strong capital markets and customer service, Caffarelli said. "For us, the name of the game will be capital markets and customer convenience," the CEO noted. The lender just reported fourth-quarter results where it beat profit estimates amid drops in provisions and operating expenses.

Brazil's GDP should grow 2.8% this year, driven mainly by consumption but also supported by investments, which should grow for the first time in four years, Caffarelli said.

In addition, the executive said the bank has started testing a banking transaction service using messaging platform Facebook Messenger. The operations will reportedly be serviced by a robot using Watson, IBM's artificial intelligence system.