Brazilian finance minister Guido Mantega has called on federal bank Banco do Nordeste's (BNB) new president, Jurandir Vieira Santiago, to continue the strong loan expansion that BNB has had during the last eight years.
Mantega noted that BNB's loan book had increased to 21bn reais (US$13.1bn) at the end of last year, from 1.4bn reais at end-2002, and that the bank is now the country's eighth largest bank in terms of assets.
The minister said he expects BNB's loon book to swell to between 30bn and 40bn reais in the coming years to ensure that all companies in the northeast have access to credit.
The underdeveloped northeast has grown above the national average during the last few years, and Mantega said BNB's loans had been crucial for the region's rapid economic expansion.
BNB is also the largest microlender in Brazil through its flagship product Crédito Amigo.