As one of the most powerful banking executives in Brazil, Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi knows that keeping the Bradesco name at the top of the Latin American financial totem pole is not an easy task. There was a time when Bradesco was the most dominant bank and the most trusted financial services brand in Brazil; this private retail bank was the envy of financial institutions across the Americas due to its sizable market capitalization. overall deposits, and shareholder value. Although the Bradesco brand still commands respect and evokes prestige, the bank is no longer the largest in Brazil.
Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi is aware that the bank he leads is in a challenging position after the 2008 merger of Itaú Unibanco, which resulted in a financial Goliath in terms of market capitalization and deposits. Itaú is not only the most powerful bank in Latin America; it is also listed among the top 10 financial institutions in the world. The merger took place in 2008, a few months before the Bradesco board of executives appointed Trabuco as CEO. In fact, many financial analysts in Brazil believe that the appointment sent a clear message to other banks that Bradesco intended to retake its status as market leader.
Bradesco’s New Goals
In a 2009 interview with a major business magazine in Brazil, Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi explained that catching up to Itaú was not one of his objectives as CEO. “The market leader title in and of itself is not one our goals,” he mentioned, “our main goal is to do a better job in the communities we serve.”
To a certain extent, improving Bradesco’s standing across Brazil could be considered to be a move towards taking market share from Itaú since it presents an opportunity to increase deposits. One thing that Trabuco knows very well is that Bradesco’s brand image is a formidable weapon; after all, he took over the position of marketing director for the bank in 1984 before taking his first executive role as director of premium banking operations in the 1990s.
As a financial brand, Bradesco is still highly respected in Brazil, and this can be attributed to clever marketing campaigns such as “Tudo de BRA,” which focuses on national identity as it relates to celebrating life in a joyful manner. The campaign coincided with the economic prosperity that Brazil has been enjoying in the 21st century as a major producer of agriculture, crude oil and manufactured goods. With this campaign, Bradesco wishes to tap into the national way of life and the good nature of the Brazilian people.
In 2015, Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi presided over one of the most significant business transactions in Latin America: the acquisition of HSBC’s operations in Brazil. This strategic move was just as important as Bradesco’s acquisition of the Brazilian operations of American Express in 2016, and it shed light into the overall strategy that Trabuco seems to have in mind for the bank he leads.
Bradesco paid more than $5 billion to acquire HSBC, but it gained two very important competitive aspects: more branches and investment assets than Itaú Unibanco. Speaking about the acquisition, Trabuco explained that it would have taken Bradesco six years worth of organic growth to achieve the expansion that resulted after acquiring HSBC. Although Itaú still leads in terms of overall deposits and loans, Bradesco continues to inch closer as it attracts the attention of individual shareholders as well as institutional investors.
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