(Adds comments from CEO Trabuco throughout)
SAO PAULO Nov 24 Banco Bradesco SA will spend
three years enhancing existing banking technology platforms to
lure younger clients and stem potential competition from
financial technology startups that are becoming more appealing,
Chief Executive Officer Luiz Carlos Trabuco said on Thursday.
Bradesco, Brazil's No. 3 listed bank, sees
banking mobility solutions as a way to make business sustainable
over time amid more demand for digital services, Trabuco and
other executives said at a meeting with investors in São Paulo.
For the next three years Bradesco will focus on extracting
the maximum cost savings possible from the takeover of HSBC Bank
Brasil Banco Múltiplo SA, while adapting products developed by
innovative financial startups, known as fintechs, to Bradesco's
platform, Trabuco said.
"The three-year period that is about to start will mark the
full transformation of a traditional banking player into one
that embraces technology as a main growth engine," he said.
His plans underscore how the largest Brazilian banks are
looking to ride a wave which caught peers in more mature markets
off-guard over the past decade. While fintechs in Brazil
represent a very small portion of banking services, growth in
segments such as credit cards or consumer lending is expanding
Analysts said Bradesco and larger private-sector rival Itaú
Unibanco Holding SA look better prepared to stave off
the competitive threat that fintechs could pose in coming years
than, for instance, state-controlled banks. Still, traditional,
bulge-bracket lenders bear larger market risks, more oversight
and copious fixed costs like payroll or their branch networks.
Chief Financial Officer Luiz Carlos Angelotti said Bradesco
is trying to stem growing cost pressures by rethinking
distribution channels, which include the bank's branches and the
way it sells products other than accounts to clients.
He noted that non-interest expenses will return to an
all-time low of 37 percent of total revenue attained in recent
months once the integration of HSBC Brasil is completed.
Bradesco bought HSBC Brasil last year.
(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Andrea Ricci)