Lula’s allies criticize Caixa and BB for suspending payroll
Allies of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) on the left see the decision by private and public banks to suspend the granting of payroll loans to INSS beneficiaries as “blackmail” and “extortion”. In public demonstrations, they even demand the exoneration of those responsible for the suspension, in the case of Caixa and Banco do Brasil.
In parallel, trade union centrals call for acts to reduce interest rates and against what they classify as “bank abuses”. They charge the government to use Caixa and BB to guarantee retirees access to payroll.
Accompanying the movement of private banks, the two state-owned banks decided on Thursday (16) to suspend new operations of this type of credit. The suspension took place three days after the decision of the National Social Security Council (CNPS) to lower the maximum interest rate for this type of loan, at the request of the Minister of Social Security, Carlos Lupi, who is also the national president of the PDT.
This Friday (17), Lupi reproduced a note published by eight trade union centrals. “The government needs to act firmly and effectively to guarantee the rights of the working class, and not give in to the interests of banks and the financial market”, says an excerpt published by the minister.
On Thursday, Lupi shared a Central Bank page that shows the fees charged on INSS payroll until the beginning of this month. Of 39 listed banks, four had interest rates lower than the new ceiling of 1.70% per month established at the beginning of the week. Caixa charged 1.86% per month and Banco do Brasil, 1.96%.
The president of the PDT-SP and of the Central dos Sindicatos Brasileiros (CSB), Antonio Neto, demanded the exoneration of those who “gave the order” to suspend the payroll. Caixa and Banco do Brasil are chaired, respectively, by Rita Serrano and Tarciana Medeiros, career bank employees.
For Antonio Neto, public banks “choir with the bank cartel to blackmail and extort retirees”. “President Lula has pen in hand to correct the problem and exonerate whoever gave the order for Caixa and Banco do Brasil to blackmail the Brazilian people. Achacadores will not pass!”, he said.
He made a public charge to Rita Serrano, president of Caixa, noting that she was a union leader and asking whether the order to suspend the payroll loan came from the command of the bank or from the Ministry of Finance.
Also on the social network, state deputy José Américo (PT-SP) stated that “Caixa and BB challenged the government”. “An absurdity: either Caixa and BB retreat or the government will no longer have the authority to criticize high interest rates”, he said.
Former Paraná governor Roberto Requião (PT) asked Lula to “give prestige to Minister Carlos Lupi”: “He is absolutely right to reduce interest on the payroll loan”.
In the opposition, federal deputy Carlos Jordi (PL-RJ) stated that the reduction in payroll interest was a “populist measure” of the “Lula misgovernment” that made loans unfeasible. “Government tries to seal and ‘ends’ with INSS payroll credit”, says the caption of the video shared by the parliamentarian.
Unions charge the government to use Caixa and BB to guarantee payroll
In a note released on Thursday, when banks began to suspend payroll, eight trade union centrals charged the government “to use Banco do Brasil and Caixa Econômica Federal to guarantee lines of credit for retirees and pensioners who need it with the new rates term”. “It is necessary that the State assumes its social responsibility and guarantees access”, they affirmed.
On video, Sergio Nobre, president of the CUT, called for demonstrations for next Tuesday (21), in the cities where the Central Bank is headquartered, to “demand the drop in interest rates, the democratization of CARF [Conselho Administrativo de Recursos Fiscais] and the National Monetary Council”.
The union leader makes no reference to the payroll issue, but the video was published after the first news of the suspension of these loans. At the end of the video, Nobre demands the departure of the president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, who has a mandate until the end of 2024. The BC has formal autonomy guaranteed by law since 2021, which means that Lula cannot change its president to anytime.