terça-feira, 29 de maio de 2012

Banking phenomenon in Brazil

Brazil is in the brim of economic explosion, triggered by a chain of events like government reforms, global participation, increased exploitation of natural resources and imports/exports. Some of the key segments are financial services, mining and exploration, real estate, biofuel (ethanol), automobiles, paper pulp, meat and juice, exports/imports and information technology.

One of the notable achievements was represented by Brazilian banks. Brazilian banks were unscathed or literally escaped the financial crisis of 2008, or yielded higher benefits from the crisis. It was a simplistic sign of economic strengthening and continued the favorites of foreign direct investments.  The Brazilian banks had exponential transformation in the last decade and had already registered footprints globally. The Central bank and government of Brazil has shown immense interest and crafted strong regulatory policies, indicators and were monitored rigorously. Apart from the reforms, the bank enabled channels to bridge the gap between customers, investors and merchants which received tremendous appreciation and trust from the customers and investors. Along, the banks provided huge job opportunities and active participation in transforming social conditions.  

Brazilian banks are one of the most advanced with cutting edge technology, increased efficiency, plethora of products and services, elaborate network of service centers and internet banking. Incidentally banks have become aggressive, competitive, creative and concentrated. The industry is prominently referred as an oligopoly, which is dominated by few key giants. In recent years the industry had witnessed a continuous pattern of various mergers and acquisitions. It was the case of international banks; many of them dissolved operations and merged with Brazilian banks. However some managed to grow bigger like Banco Santander, basically from Spain. Other major international banks are Citibank, HSBC, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley, ING, Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile the smaller and yet profitable domestic banks were being swallowed by the big ones.

It is not always a favorable condition for the banks as they are facing tough challenges like lack of skilled professionals, risk and fraud, technology constraints, labor cost, tough government policies and social stigmas. The banks are continuously reiterating their policies on a long term vision and to stand up for the upcoming world class events of 2014 World cup football and 2016 Olympics. Some investment banks along with some international banking giants have taken full advantage and are investing massively.

However, like every coin with two sides, the banks in Brazil have its other darker side too. The heavy taxes (interest rates, late payment fees…etc), limited access in the interior of Brazil, few players (reduced competition) and so on.

Here is a listing of few market giants (with a short description). For detailed information check the references at the last.
Banco Central do Brasil, the central bank of Brazil founded in 1964.  They are responsible for drafting policies, monitoring and evaluating the banking system. As of August 31, 2011, Central Bank had total assets of R$1.428 trillion (US$900.7 billion). Central bank has many subsidiaries/entities which SELIC, an entity of central bank, is responsible for all the interbank transfers. There are lots of entities associated with central. The complete lists with services are available at www.bc.gov.br

Banco do Brasil (BB), one of the largest bank in Brazil and biggest in Latin America n hemisphere. Founded in 1808, headquarter in Brasilia (capital of Brazil) and wholly managed by the Brazilian government with stocks being traded in São Paulo stock exchange. With 110, 000 employees, over 55 million customers, 17800 agencies, 45000 ATM's (largest network in Latin America) and operates in 23 countries with 45 agencies. During the last decade BB made huge expansion through massive acquisitions, the recent acquisition of 51% stake in Banco Patagonia (one of the largest bank in Argentina). BB is recognized for their social orientation programs, cultural and sports events.
[ 31/12/2011 - Total assets - US$526.6 ( R$981.230 billion ) | Total deposits R$442.386 billion | Shareholder equity - R$58.42 billion ] www.bb.com.br

Banco Itaú Unibanco, the largest private bank (second biggest bank in Brazil), financial conglomerate in the Latin America and is one among the 10 largest banks in the world by market value. It grown into a giant after the merger of Banco Unibanco with Banco Itaú  in 2008. It has over 5000 agencies, 30000 ATM's and more than 110,000 employees. It has operations in North America, Europe and Asia, headquarter in São Paulo city, Brazil. In the last years they had hugely invested in technology transformation, branding (marketing) and customer satisfaction. The blue logo in the orange band across the Brazil attracts customer attention. 
Itaú Unibanco owns Redecard, one of the largest card payment processor companies and has an alliance with Porto Seguro, Brazilian insurance giant. 
[ 2012 - Total assets - US$491.3 billion  | Net Income  US$7.8 billion | Revenue - U$57.8 billion | Market capitalization - R$179.6 billion ]  www.itau.com.br

Banco Bradesco, is one of the largest bank in Brazil, the largest card issuer with 90 million credit cards and 64 million debit cards, the first bank to launch internet banking in Latin America. It has 105,000 employees, 59 million customers, 13083 agencies, 49000 third party service points, 35000 ATMs. It has operations in North America, Europe and Asia. They had many acquisitions like Banco Mercantil, Banco IBI, BBVA, JP Morgan Fleming Asset and American Express operation in Brazil. Bradesco Seguros is their subsidiary and is based in São Paulo.
[ 2012 - Total assets - US$432 billion  | Net Income  US$5.8 billion | Revenue - U$48.9 billion] www.bradesco.com.br

Caixa Economica Federal, one of the biggest bank and the largest public bank in the Latin America and was founded in 1861 by then Emperor Dom Pedro II. It has 82000 employees, 38 million customer, 17000 agencies and 19000 ATMs. It received high popularity from the Brazilian audience through the lotteries and also controls other Brazilian lotteries.  The profits from the lotteries are utilized for enhancement of education and campaigns/promotion of sports.
[ 2012 - Total assets - US$305.7 billion  | Net Income  US$2.7 billion | Revenue - U$19.5 billion ] www.caixa.gov.br

The article is not a comprehensive and for detailed information refer the links below:

terça-feira, 15 de maio de 2012

On the roads - Captures from Brotas, São Paulo

Brotas, in the interiors of São Paulo state, profoundly called the “Adventure capital of Latin America”, famous for the adventure sports like canoeing, rafting, trekking, mountain climbing and so on. Recently I explored this beautiful countryside with my wife and captured some wonderful pictures.

domingo, 13 de maio de 2012

Genius at work: Painting with mouth and feet

Some years back I met with an accident which left my left arm bandaged for a week. I would say it was nasty considering the gravity it impacted my routines for a week, but it introduced me to a stark reality. Meanwhile in a week’s time I was back in action and moved on….

Imagine, how disabilities can hinder our life and others life. Have you ever imagined of painting or writing without using our hands? Or even  writing or painting with mouth or feet?  It’s prickly huh!!.

It brings me into attention of an association which revolutionized and supports physically challenged people to come up into the limelight. The world association of painters with mouth and feet (APBP) has done wonders, whose handicapped members exhibited enormous courage and passion to demonstrate mastery in painting using mouth and feet. It requires extraordinary capability, patience and perception which undermined their disabilities and evolve into great Picasso’s and Angelo’s .  
The organization “Associação dos Pintores com a Boca e os Pés (Asociation of painters with mouth and feet)” was founded in 1965 by Eric Stegmann, who was born handicapped and became a famous painter. For the last couple of decades, the association is promoting and campaigning for those handicapped artists and their families. It is an international organization and has branches in Brazil, Philippines and other countries. The foundation encourages the artists by providing better and free education, support their families, provide painting materials and simple, smart campaigns. It is fascinating and captivating the sense of greatness, creativity and independence these artists (the warriors) acquired through their mindfulness. Their way of life has shown the humanity that the challenges in life is inevitable and permeable, however it could be battled and succeeded.     

The paintings are sold for a reasonable price and the profits are used to support the artists and other handicapped members. Usually the paintings are made in the form of postcards, illustrating Christmas and other special occasions. The “Yearly Calendar” is one of their prominent works. The cards, calendars and paintings are available in the website (http://www.apbp.com.br/) and can be obtained for a reasonable price. The website has extensive information about their works, artists and other information. There is a APBP centre in São Paulo city (Rua Tuim, 426, Moema, São Paulo)

These artists and their family’s needs assistance and care, and those who are interested in helping them, can pay a visit to their events, promote their work and make donations.  We should not forget that they are also part of the community and their evolution is important as well.

Congratulations APBP for the remarkable achievements and continue with the activities.    

sábado, 12 de maio de 2012

Deep Brasil - Musical project

Deep Brasil” is a musical project by the legendary ethno-ambient electronic band “Deep Forest” which was released in 2008. Yet another magical fusion of ethnical twists with the beats of Brazilian beats. Eric Mouquet’s beautiful composition is flavored by the voice of Flavio Dell’Isola.
The project sends a strong and vibrant message about deforestation, extinction of species and the stake of indigenous people. The music “Africa Brasil ” demonstrates the rich influence of African music and the cultural coincidences in the Brazilian community. This music will trigger the listeners to move their feet on the rhythm of the Afro-Brazilian beat. The music showers praises on the beauty of Brazil, its large lush green tropical rainforests, large deposits of fresh water, animals and plants living in diversity, cuisine and energy of people. The “Deep Brasil” offers large dollops of mixed emotions, bliss and love, embarking a new level of co-existence between humans and nature.  

I was deeply moved by the excellent fusion of the ethnic rhythms and Portuguese language, the birds chirping, wild drum beats and extracts of samba. It meant a lot for me, who had experienced a bit of Brazil, its uniqueness, as the country is galloping to be the economic powerhouse and appetite for major countries and how these musical projects establish and awaken the masses. I trundled along the music to the corridors of Amazonia, pushed my day fishing and off course danced on the beats. I recommend the audience to grab a copy, also a strong campaign for Amazonia and a promoter for Brazilian tourism.

Deep Forest, known for their mixing of ethnic sounds and music, originally from France and have won many awards globally like in 1995 Grammy Award.
Ceu Do Brasil
Céu do Araguaia
Da Serra Dourada
Da Cidade de Goiás
Do Rio das Almas
Da Serra Pelada
Céu de Minas Gerais
Da terra sagrada
Três Marias , três irmãs
Nuvens naves , lua cheia
Cadentes avelãs
Céu tão lindo nas manhãs
Céu brilhante incendeia
Matas e cunhatãs
Céu do Brasil
Céu de abril
Céu do Brasil
De brigadeiro
Céu do Brasil
Mais que azul
Celeste , turquesa , anil
Cruzeiro do Sul.