Brazilian banks and currency


Brazil has a very advanced banking industry and with the adoption of the Real (R$) in 1994, inflation is finally under control thanks to the stablility of the currency.

The Brazilian currency is called the Real (plural: Reais). One Real consists of 100 centavos.

Banks in Brazil

There are two state-owned banks in Brazil, the Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil. The latter used to be the Central Bank of Brazil. It has over 4,000 branches in Brazil, various branches in 22 countries worldwide and is at the same time the largest bank in Latin America. Both banks, Caixa and Banco do Brasil hold a stake of almost 50% of the Brazilian banking sector.

There are in addition regional banks owned by the individual Brazilian states with the largest being the Banco do Estado de São Paulo (BANESPA).

State-owned or federal banks will be privatised in the next few years.

Already today, several private banks exist. Unibanco, Banco Itaú and Banco Bradesco are among the largest of Brazilian private banks. In addition, all larger foreign banks like Santander, BBV, HSBC or Deutsche Bank are represented in Brazil offering expatriates the same service they are used to in their home country.

Normal banking hours in Brazil are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Further reading

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