Strategy and

Brazil credit cards to reach
195m by 2013

The number of credit cards in
Brazil is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12%
during 2010-2013, according to a report by global research
specialist RNCOS.

The number of credit cards in
Brazil has witnessed note-worthy growth in the recent years, and
RNCOS predicts that the number of credit cards will reach around
195m by 2013.

RNCOS cites rising disposable
income, the growth of online shopping and changing consumer needs
as the main drivers behind higher credit card usage in Brazil.

The research specialist also notes
that the future prospects of the credit card industry will remain
buoyant owing to low credit card penetration, coupled with
consumers’ preference in view of its safety and easy access.

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Strategy and

Positive outlook for Brazilian

The outlook for Brazilian banks is
positive for 2010 as a return to loan growth will strengthen core
revenue generation, according to global credit ratings agency Fitch

Fitch predicts that Brazilian bank
margins will come under pressure, but this should be somewhat
offset by an easing of provisioning pressures given the reversal of
asset quality deterioration.

In the absence of a ‘double dip’
recession, Fitch expects that potential pressure on asset quality
from a seasoning of new loan growth is unlikely to be felt until
well into 2011.

Fitch further notes that financing
the expected loan growth will lead many banks to increase
dependence on third-party funding, sourced in capital markets at
home and abroad; as such funding is often done at tenors shorter
than the those of the assets being funded, conservative liquidity
management will be important for rating stability.

Fitch notes that Brazil as a whole
is well positioned to recover from the economic downturn. Fitch has
projected the Brazilian economy to grow 5.5% in 2010, which is
above the overall average for Latin America. As banks begin to
report 2009 results, signs point to resumed loan growth in line
with a rebound in the local economy.


Mergers and

Citi to increase stake in
Banco de Chile

US banking giant Citigroup is to
pay CLP269.7bn ($519.7m) to increase its stake in the controlling
shareholder of Banco de Chile to 50%. Citi has acquired an
additional 8.52% in LQ Inversiones Financieras and exercised its
option to gain a 50% stake in the holding company.

Citi acquired a 10.44% stake in the
bank in 2007, with Banco de Chile acquiring Citi’s local assets.
Under the terms of that deal, Banco de Chile took over all of
Citi’s local clientele, while Citi retained control of Banco de
Chile’s operations in the US.


Product launch

IHG rewards expand to LatAm
and Caribbean

Priority Club Rewards, the hotel
loyalty programme from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), has
expanded its Priority Club Meeting Rewards programme to the 73 IHG
hotels within 20 countries and territories in the region.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards
awards three points per dollar to planners booking 10 guest

Up to 60,000 points can be earned
with each meeting and then redeemed for Meeting Credits, an
American Express-branded prepaid card ranging in value from $250 to
$1,000, redeemable against future meetings at any of IHG’s more
than 4,400 hotels and resorts worldwide.

Priority Club Meeting Rewards is
available at all IHG brands in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With more than 48m members, IHG’s Priority Club Rewards is the
largest guest loyalty programme in the hotel industry.


Product launch

Jamaican bank launches debit

Capital and Credit Merchant Bank
(CCMB) of Jamaica has launched a debit card, giving cardholders
access to the Multilink network for ATM and POS transactions.

CCMB launched the card with
permission from the country’s central bank, the Bank of Jamaica,
and after negotiations with members of the Multilink network. CCMB
is the only one of three commercial banks in Jamaica to issue its
own debit card.

CCMB’s debit card will be available
by subscription for two categories of clients, its ‘Capital
Investor Plus’ and ‘Capital Super Saver’ account holders.

The Capital Link debit card can be
used at any Easi-Access or Multilink ATM for withdrawals and
account enquiries, and POS transactions at merchant outlets where
the Multilink sign is displayed.


Strategy and

Jamaican societies cut
transactional fees

The Jamaica National building
society is promoting fee-free bill payment services, ATM
transactions and POS transactions in bid to woo customers away from

The building society, with assets
of more than J$83bn as of September 2009, is placing no limits on
the number of transactions customers perform for free and there are
no minimum account balance requirements.

Another building society, Victoria
Mutual, is promoting free ATM transactions on the Multilink network
using VM Express 24 cards, free POS transactions and free transfers
between accounts.

Both building societies are pushing
the concept of community banking in order to reach underserved
consumer segments, including lower-income communities.

This is in contrast to banks in
Jamaica, which charge for transfers and withdrawals and POS
transactions. Banks have been reluctant to cut fees due to high
levels of exposure to Jamaican and foreign currency government


Strategy and

Redecard launches advertising

Redecard, the MasterCard-affiliated
Brazilian payment card processor, has launched a new advertising
campaign, encompassing a wide-ranging TV campaign, to promote the
company’s services and strengthen relationships with merchants.

The campaign will also include ads
in large-circulation magazines, specialised publications for the
card industry, magazines targeting the business sectors in which
Redecard operates, newspapers and online media.

The national advertising campaign
will star a small dog, which represents Redecard’s POS terminals
and acts as the company’s mascot.

“The new campaign translates our
daily effort to offer Brazil’s most efficient and safest payment
network, the largest portfolio of services and brands and the best
innovations in electronic payments,” said Redecard CEO Roberto

“The company is tightening its focus and strengthening its
relationship with its clients.”