* Bradesco raises caps on credit limits by 14 billion reais
* Bradesco default ratios are lowest among private peers
SAO PAULO Jan 14 Banco Bradesco SA,
Brazil's No. 2 private sector bank, is easing limits on consumer
credit as it expects a decline in loan delinquencies to extend
through the year, a senior executive told Reuters on Monday.
The bank decided on Monday to increase the supply of
consumer credit for individuals exempt from preliminary approval
by 14 billion reais ($6.9 billion), a jump of almost 20 percent,
according to Octávio de Lazari Junior, Bradesco's senior vice
president for consumer lending. The move followed the assessment
that the falling trend in delinquencies will prevail for the
"It's a decision that will help customers to cope with some
expenses in the start of the year, such as taxes on vehicles and
school materials," Lazari said in a telephone interview.
The decision comes as Chief Executive Luiz Carlos Trabuco,
who spent last year fighting Brazil's challenging environment
for lenders with strict cost controls, seeks to grow more
quickly in credit now that defaults are showing signs of
abating. Bradesco has the lowest levels of loan delinquencies
among Brazil's largest private-sector lenders.
According to Lazari, the outlook is positive for the
expansion of consumer credit as the job market remains robust
and wages are resilient. The decision to open more than 1,000
branches in the second half of 2011 led the bank to ease lending
limits, he added.
In 2012, private lenders grew their loan books at a pace
well below that of state lenders - partly in order to stave off
defaults among small- and mid-sized companies and individuals.