Personal loans driving Brazil lending growth

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Brazil's financial system saw lending expand in the 12 months through July as loans to individuals offset a decline in loans to companies.

System loans amounted to 3.13tn reais (US$762bn) at the end of last month, up 2.4% compared to end-July 2017, the central bank said in a release.

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Personal loans grew 6.4%, while corporate loans contracted 2.1%, with the overall non-performing loan ratio decreasing 0.7% percentage points to 3% at end-July.

Many companies are holding back on planned investments due to the great uncertainty surrounding the October presidential election.

Instead of bank financing, some firms have also obtained lower-cost funding by selling shares on the domestic market and issuing bonds overseas.

The average annual interest rate charged by banks was 24.5% in July, down from 36.4% in July last year. The central bank's key interest rate is at a record low of 6.5% but banks say they need to charge much higher rates due to expenses related to loan loss provisions and taxes.