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Brazil's Caixa opens search for card payment partner

Brazil's Caixa Econômica Federal confirmed reports that it is looking for a partner in the card payment market.

The state-run lender is seeking expressions of interest until Aug. 12 for a 20-year joint venture, according to a statement. "Caixa announces, in alignment with its strategic plan and seeking to strengthen its operations in the electronic payment market, it will promote a competitive process for the acquisition of a corporate partnership," the Aug. 2 filing said.

Caixa, the only major Brazilian bank that does not have a payment means unit, will offer exclusivity for the eventual partner, in its network of 4,170 branches, 13,031 lottery units and 8,500 banking correspondents.

According to previous reports, Visa and Mastercard have both expressed interest in becoming Caixa's new partner. In June, executives from both companies said they would be interested in knowing more details about the plan.

The bank had reportedly planned to start negotiations with interested parties in June, but the process was delayed due to judicial procedures, O Estado de S. Paulo reported.

Caixa currently works with Itaú Unibanco's Redecard SA. In addition, the bank participates in the card market through payments processor Elo Participações SA, which it co-owns with Banco do Brasil SA and Banco Bradesco SA.