The statement released on Thursday (2) by Febraban (Brazilian Federation of Banks), in which the entity reaffirmed its support for the manifesto “The Square is of the Three Powers”, in defense of institutional harmony in the country, angered the direction of Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Brasil.
In the view of the banks’ tops, the two public institutions lost reasons to leave the federation, something they were considering not only because of their adherence to the charter, but also because they disagreed with the way the organization’s executive board conducts discussions in the council, formed by 18 banks .
In the note, Febraban said that, in its scope, the matter is closed and “will no longer be linked to the decisions of Fiesp [Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo], which, without consulting the other entities, decided to postpone the publication of the manifest without a date.”
The document, prepared in recent weeks, was made public, gathered signatures from more than 200 entities and was expected to be published by Tuesday (31).
The coordination of the collection of adhesions and dissemination was the responsibility of Fiesp, but the organization’s president, Paulo Skaf, postponed its publication after reactions from the Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) government.
People who attended the Febraban meeting this Thursday morning stated that Caixa and BB expressed discomfort with the maintenance of the content of the different versions of the manifesto.
They also criticized the note for having delegated to Fiesp the responsibility for “coordinating the process of collecting signatures” and publishing it.
Smaller private banks would have supported the two public banks because they understand that there was a breach of confidence in the way the matter was handled by Febraban’s board. So they asked for a new meeting to discuss “internal procedures” going forward.
Also according to reports, these institutions considered that a board meeting would have been better to discuss the manifesto. They stated that they only received the content by email for voting and later learned of the divergence opened by state banks.
With the note from Febraban to put an end to the episode, Caixa and BB were left with no reason to carry out their initial plan to leave the entity.
This movement will only be resumed if Febraban goes back and signs the manifesto that Fiesp postponed to mid-September.
At this moment, given the public declaration that it will no longer deal with the document, the disbanding of the two federal institutions would be interpreted as an act in defense of the Bolsonaro government — something that would demonstrate the political apparatus of the institutions.
Despite pressure from Caixa and BB and the postponement of official disclosure, the entity reiterated its agreement with the content of the document being prepared by Fiesp.
“Febraban considers that the content of the manifesto, approved by its own governance, was widely publicized by the country’s media, fulfilling its purpose. The federation expresses respect for the option of Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal, which took a stand against the signature of the manifesto,” he said.
As the content of the manifesto became common knowledge, the organization wrote that it has already fulfilled “its role in joining the other productive sectors in Brazil in a request for balance and serenity, basic elements of a solid and vigorous democracy”.
The manifesto displeased the government, which saw criticisms of the Bolsonaro administration in the text.
The president has been increasing attacks on democracy and, in particular, on the STF (Supreme Federal Court). He made Caixa and BB threaten to abandon Febraban if the document was released with the signature of public banks.
Skaf’s decision to postpone the publication of the document is attributed by businessmen to a deference to Arthur Lira (PP-AL), president of the Chamber of Deputies. Skaf would be indebted to the congressman, who accepted the sector’s pleas in the reform of the Income Tax.
Pedro Guimarães, president of Caixa, tried to stop the institutional adhesion of the banking sector to the text.
Fausto Ribeiro, president of Banco do Brasil —and who is on the board of directors of Febraban, as well as Guimarães—, supported Caixa’s position, increasing pressure on the entity, until the divergence became public on Saturday (28).