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Bradesco sees 10% growth in Brazil's corporate loan market in 2019

Banco Bradesco SA's executives expect Brazil's corporate loans to grow at about 10% in 2019 after bottoming out in the past years, Valor Econômico reported.

According to Bradesco President Octavio de Lazari, the bank's flagship individual loans, such as payroll and real estate financing, will benefit from the country's economic recovery. A more optimistic economic outlook also makes room for faster growth in unsecured personal loans and vehicle financing, Lazari said.

Bradesco is seeing improved profitability, with its third-quarter return on equity of 19% serving "a starting point, not a finish line," Lazari said. The bank's result was driven by several credit lines in 2018, despite being a difficult year, the executive added.

Lazari also said the bank finalized the downsizing of its branch network, noting that its employee count should remain stable, Folha De S.Paulo reported.

Lazari said credit and debit card operator Cielo SA remains "important" for Bradesco despite the sale of 370,000 payment terminals under a new business agreement.

"In relation to the future of [Cielo], the acquiring market is 'core business' for the bank," Cielo Chairman Marcelo Noronha said. "The company has scale, is competitive, but we have to rethink how to do business."

Speaking about other Brazilian banks, Lazari said the resumption of economic expansion will catalyze growth in the transfer lines of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social's resources. Meanwhile, the official expects the government of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to have difficulties in privatizing Banco do Brasil SA and Caixa Econômica Federal.

"I do not think privatization is necessary and urgent and should not happen in such a short time," Lazari said, adding that other institutions should be sold instead, such as reinsurance company IRB-Brasil Resseguros SA. For Lazari, public banks hold a role in the economy and should be bolstered.

Bradesco expects Brazil's stock exchange to receive about $100 billion in resources from foreign investors in 2019, Noronha said. Of the amount, about $50 billion will come from emerging funds while the other $50 billion will be sourced from global funds, Noronha added.