Banco Bradesco (NYSE:BBD) has had a rough time of it recently, as Brazil's weak economy has hurt demand for loans, pressured deposits, and led to greater credit losses. This isn't a unique situation, as other banks like Itau Unibanco (NYSE:ITUB), Banco do Brasil (OTCPK:BDORY), and Banco Santander Brasil (NYSE:BSBR) have seen similar pressures and stresses, but Bradesco has been the weakest of these performers over the past year (just slightly worse than Itau) and the strong rally that had pushed these shares up 50% to 100% has sharply reversed in recent days.
The good news for Bradesco is that it is at least plausible that the credit cycle has bottomed out and the company's capital position is okay. The worse news is that the recovery in Brazil could be slow and stretched out over many years - not unlike what the U.S. banking sector has seen. While I think management's inability to accurately predict worsening credit trends as the cycle dragged on is a concern, as is the indictment against the CEO, I do believe that the bank can return over time to ROEs in the high teens to 20% and generate high-single-digit to low-double-digit earnings growth, supporting a fair value above $10 for the ADRs.
Bradesco Isn't Out Of The Woods, But The Credit Cycle May Be Bottoming