BNDES: Brazil’s really big bank
- has loaned a third of a trillion dollars since 2010, twice the amount the World Bank provided to about 100 countries combined
- According to critics, most of the money goes to the country’s richest and most politically connected companies, among them JBS (the largest contributor to Dilma Rousseff’s campaign), construction giant Odebrecht, and now-broke Eike Batista’s EBX Group (which received $4 billion in loans).
- Treasury funds and payroll tax revenue are used for loans.
- In exchange for loans, BNDES has acquired a minority stake in dozens of private companies, giving the bank’s executives a say in their operations.
For all practical purposes, BNDS is acting as an investment bank, not a public institution focused on fostering social development, while maintaining its lack of transparency,
But analysts say there is another downside to BNDES’s big spending: It fans inflation, which has remained stubbornly high at just under 6 percent a year.
To keep it under control, the Central Bank on Nov. 27 raised its benchmark rate to 10 percent. Such a high interest rate — the highest of any developed country — is believed to crowd out the development of private lenders.
What could possibly go wrong?