First Choice Bank for Brazilians and South Americans around the world.

Author:Haskel, David

"We're following the leader wherever he may go." This seems to be the dictum of Banco do Brasil's foreign operations.

Asked why the largest bank in Latin America and one of the oldest in the world has chosen to Launch its apparently haphazard expansion in next-door Argentina, managing director of International Business and Affairs Admilson Monteiro does not hesitate: "We haven't. Our customers have. We were naturally following them."

Argentina is not only South Americas second Largest economy after Brazil, it is also Brazil's partner in the Mercosur trading bloc. In this case, the leaders were 400 Brazilian companies that have set up shop in Argentina.

This same principle also has led BB, founded in 1808, to target other regional nations like Chile, Colombia and Peru.

"Our international strategy commitment is based on three drivers: the existence of Brazilian communities living abroad, the growing presence of Brazilian companies in other countries, and Brazil's foreign trade flows," Monteiro explains. "We aim to be recognized as the worldwide, first-choice bank for Brazilians and South Americans."

These guidelines have led the state-run bank to launch operations in 24 countries and counting.

An open minded approach helps it target the right niches in each country:

* In Colombia, a flourishing capital market means BB is now considering establishing a new unit or maybe...

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