A Talk with the CEO
Milton Maluhy Filho
Milton Maluhy Filho talks about Itaú Unibanco’s performance in 2022, the bank’s strategy and challenges for the future.
Milton, how do you assess 2022 for Itaú Unibanco?
The year 2022 was marked by the sound delivery of results, indicating that even in the face of challenging circumstances, we were able to show consistency of performance. Our recurring result was R$30.3 billion, mainly driven by the expansion of our loan portfolio and our margin with clients. A significant milestone reached this year was the updating of our corporate culture: the Itubers Culture, which guides and steers us through the complex world of today is based on key values which underpin our behavior and attitudes. I should also highlight our employees’ satisfaction ratings (measured based on the e-nps) reached an all-time high of 88 points at the end of 2022.
How is the organization transforming itself in the face of the growing trend towards financial digitalization?
We currently have almost 19,000 people working in multidisciplinary teams, divided into about 2,000 squads. By the end of 2022, as part of our digital transformation, to enable us better to attract and serve clients, 50 percent of our platform had been upgraded, which represents 70 percent of the expected efficiency gains. In practice, our efforts to create value for our clients in 2022 resulted in 70 percent of acquisitions of our products by individual customers taking place fully digitally, a year-on-year increase of 14 percentage points.
You have talked a lot about creating a client-centric, agile, adaptive, modern mindset. What have been the results of this change?
Engagement is just as significant as growing our client base for the sustainability of our business. That is why it is crucial to understand people’s needs and expectations. We currently monitor more than 40 variables for each client’s relationship with us, and with the market, ranging from account transactions, channel access, product penetration, etc. Based on these variables, we can identify how many and which financial needs each client brings to the bank, and we are able to identify the conversation that is most aligned with each client’s life stage, as well as the most appropriate communications channel. Currently, 87 percent of our offers are suitable for the profile of the client for which they were designed, and the rate of growth of engaged clients within our client base has been faster than the growth of our total number of clients. This strengthens us as a universal bank, whose purpose is to serve the client through the channel of their choice and in the way that is most convenient for them. Another highlight in this respect is our efficiency ratio, which stood at 41.2 percent in 2022, a year-on-year drop of 280 bps.
Itaú Unibanco has always worked through partnerships, a strategy you have called the communitarian agenda. How was this trajectory in 2022?
I think it’s our role to be open at all times and look outwards, to see where there are new opportunities in adjacent business areas. This is why these partnerships are aimed at improving our ecosystem and our value proposition to our clients. The idea is to be able to break new ground and move into new revenue verticals beyond the traditional verticals for the financial system or the banking system. For example, to expand our business and continue to evolve in the digital environment, this year we announced the acquisition of Ideal Corretora, Orbia, a partnership with TOTVS to build TECHFIN, and the acquisition of a strategic stake in Avenue. When we join with these partners, who offer complementary experience and knowledge, we enhance our delivery capacity by filling our diverse ecosystems with new offers and new products. In short, we have been trying to go beyond banking in cases where we have identified a correlation, a possible synergy.
We can see the evolution of the bank’s ESG strategy. What are the biggest challenges for this agenda?
We are dedicating significant efforts to developing our stance on issues related to climate change, one of today’s main global challenges. This year, we have improved the methodology used to calculate our financed emissions by expanding its coverage and increasing its accuracy. We continue to work on ensuring that ESG factors are at the core of our business. In 2022, we were ranked as the leading Brazilian bank in terms of issues of ESG bonds (green, social, sustainability and sustainability linked bonds). This year, we issued R$2 billion in Social Financial Bills to support women’s entrepreneurship in Brazil, in line with the Itaú Mulher Empreendedora Program, designed in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to promote the development of female-led businesses through acceleration, training and networking initiatives.
What are the highlights of the 2022 results?
The recurring return on annualized average equity stood at 19.0%, and the Tier I capital ratio at yearend was 13.5%. As a result, we distributed R$8.4 billion in interest on capital in 2022. We have also recognized impacts arising from an event subsequent to the end of the reporting period related to a specific case of a large company that went into court-supervised reorganization. The Provision for Expected Credit Losses was reinforced to cover 100% of the exposure, generating an impact on profit for the year of R$1.3 billion (R$719 million, net of taxes), with the difference compared to the total exposure being recognized in the supplementary allowance.
What final message would you like to leave for our readers?
We ended 2022 on an optimistic note, with a positive outlook for the future. Based on our best macroeconomic expectations for 2023, Brazilian GDP should grow by 1.1%, and the SELIC rate should fall to 12.50% by the end of the year. Inflation, measured based on the IPCA (National Broad Consumer Price Index), should be 6.1%. Based on these conditions, our projections for 2023 include: (i) growth in our loan portfolio of between 6.0% and 9.0%; (ii) a further increase in our financial margin with clients of between 13.5% and 16.5%; (iii) a cost of credit of between R$36.5 billion and R$40.5 billion; and (iv) growth in non-interest expenses of between 5.0% and 9.0%, meaning that our consolidated efficiency ratio will remain below 40%.
Thank you very much and enjoy your reading,
Milton Maluhy Filho