It is often said that there are few really great tech innovators under the age of 50. But in the Brazilian banking sector, two of the largest proponents of new technology have been the leaders of Brazilian banking giant Bradesco, both of whom are well over the age of 60.
Lazaro Brandao, who recently announced his departure as chairman of the Bradesco board of directors, is 91 years old. As chairman, he has long been a staunch advocate of integrating technology to the greatest extent possible into the firm’s banking products. In fact, as CEO from 1981 to 1999, he was among the first business leaders in Brazil to start focusing on creating online platforms, where customers could do much of the same types of banking tasks that previously would have required them to drive to a branch.https://banco.bradesco/html/prime/sobre/nossa-historia.shtm
Brandao has stated that one of the most important challenges the bank will face, going forward, is the nearly 13 million of its customers who the inveterate chairman describes as technologically illiterate. But far from throwing up his hands in despair, the venerable banker believes that it is Bradesco’s duty as a good corporate citizen to embrace the challenge and teach these customers enough about technology that they can interact with the bank’s online platforms. Brandao doesn’t view this is merely a good business decision. He says that it is important for Bradesco to act as a leader in the development of both the economic and human capital of the country, a role that he has embraced since first taking executive roles in the early 1980s.
In the same vein, Luiz Carlos Trabuco, the outgoing CEO of Bradesco who will soon take Brandao’s old job as chairman, has likewise viewed the adoption of technology and innovation of online and mobile banking products as a core developmental strategy for the bank. Under Trabuco’s watch as CEO, the bank developed the Next system, an online banking platform that has enabled millions of Brazilians to access all of their banking services through their online and mobile devices. This program ultimately proved so successful that the Next platform was spun off into its own company.
Trabuco’s departure marks the end to one of the most volatile reigns in the bank’s history. Inheriting an extremely tough macroeconomic climate, Trabuco did his best to maintain the firm’s position in the market. But after taking over in 2009, shortly before Bradesco’s archrivals, Itau and Unibanco merged, Bradesco’s stock price was pummeled down to less than 20 percent of its value when Trabuco took over as CEO.
However, Trabuco was then able to pull off one of the greatest coups in the history of Brazilian finance. In mid-2015, he announced that Bradesco would be acquiring HSBC Brazil, in its entirety, for $5.2 billion in cash. The completion of this deal instantly rocketed Bradesco back to the number-one position, sending the stock price soaring and redeeming Trabuco in the eyes of shareholders and the market at large.
Since the acquisition, Bradesco’s share price has continued to climb, currently trading at more than 2.5 times its 2015 lows. But even as Trabuco steps down from the role of CEO, many believe that he will continue to have an almost singular influence over the direction of the firm, even as chairman of the board. If the past is any guide, the next few years will see Bradesco even more aggressively pursue technological innovations, driving more customers to its mobile banking products and very likely making raids into its competitors established territories and looking to steal away customers.
Bradesco has never been in a better position to capitalize on its technological advantages