It is often said that getting to the top is easy while remaining there is the hard part. Nowhere saying manifested better than in the business world. We have seen companies valued at billions of dollars fall into liquidation within only a few years. While such incidences have been difficult to witness, they have also enabled us to develop a greater appreciation for the businesses that have consistently remained at the top. One such business is Brazilian bank, Bradesco. For the past seven decades, the bank has formed part of the crème in the Brazilian banking industry. Looking forward, the bank’s continued stay at the top is almost guaranteed, thanks to the strategic management of current president, Luiz Carlos Trabuco. Having been with the bank for close to five decades now, his loyalty and consistent performance have not escaped the attention of many in the country.
Luiz Carlos Trabuco and Bradesco have always shared a bond that goes beyond the employer-employee relationship. The bank was launched by its founder, Amador Aguiar in 1943 in the small city of Marilia. Eight years later, in 1951, Luiz Carlos Trabuco was born in the same city. The year of his birth coincidentally turned out to be the same year Bradesco became the largest private bank in the country – much later, Luiz Carlos Trabuco would become the bank’s president in the same year it lost this number one spot. The paths of the two then crossed in 1969, when an 18-year old Luiz Carlos Trabuco was employed as a clerk at Bradesco’s branch in the city where they shared their origins, Marilia.
However, contrary to what has constantly been reported, the primary motivation for acquiring HSBC was not to chase down Itau Unibanco. Rather, Luiz Carlos Trabuco signed off on it because it made great financial sense to Bradesco. While reclaiming the number one spot would bring great pride to Bradesco, a bank has to look after the interest of its stakeholders first. The acquisition greatly accelerated the bank’s growth. Among the gains, it made from the deal was the addition of approximately one million high-value clients (individuals receiving in excess of R$10,000 a month) to its books.
The purchase of HSBC by Bradesco also revealed a high degree resoluteness in the bank’s culture that Luiz Carlos Trabuco has helped to maintain. Ironically, a decade prior, it was HSBC Brazil that was considering acquiring Bradesco. However, unlike its foreign competitor, Bradesco had greater belief in the Brazilian financial sector despite a few tumulus years and consequently managed to come out on top. With Luiz Carlos Trabuco being in charge of the bank during the 2008/2009 global financial crisis and the 2015/2016 economic recession in the country, most of the plaudits for Bradesco pulling through these testing periods unscathed and turning the tables on HSBC has to go to him.https://g1.globo.com/economia/negocios/noticia/sucessao-no-conselho-do-bradesco-foi-um-ato-planejado-diz-trabuco.ghtml
Traditionally, Bradesco has been known for looking after its own. After the HSBC acquisition, Luiz Carlos Trabuco ensured the continuity of this tradition by retaining most of the employees previously working for HSBC. In the past, the practice of retaining employees of the banks it purchases has paid significant dividends for Bradesco. For example, Bradesco’s third president and Luiz Carlos Trabuco’s predecessor, Marcio Cypriano joined the bank in 1973 after it acquired Banco da Bahia. In the medium to long-term, retaining these employees will be greatly beneficial to the bank as it will bring in fresh ideas and also foster competition. As per Luiz Carlos Trabuco himself, “it is an intangible gain of the purchase.”