The Brazilian Economic Development Bank (BNDE) was established on June 20, 1952, under Law 1628, as a government agency, with the aim of developing and carrying out national economic development policies. Subsequently, according to Law 5662, of June 21, 1971, BNDE was converted into a state-owned company under private law, which resulted in more flexibility to raise and invest funds, besides less political interference.
Initially, the BNDE invested heavily in infrastructure; however, in the 1960s, the cattle-raising and agricultural sector, as well as small and medium-sized Brazilian companies already had access to financing lines. At that time, the BNDE started operations into agreement with a network of accredited financial agents distributed all over Brazil.
The Bank played a fundamental role in Brazilian politics in replacing imports during the 1970s, culminating in the most complete industrial sector in Latin America. Investments in industrial segments that were still insignificant in Brazil began, including information technology and microelectronics.
In 1974, three subsidiaries were established to operate in the capitals market, aimed at expanding the types of capitalization for Brazilian companies. They merged in 1982 and became a new subsidiary named BNDESPAR.
Integrating social concerns with the development policy in the beginning of the 1980s was made evident when the Bank changed its name to The Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), in 1982.
During the 1980s, the Bank encouraged Brazilian companies to compete with imported products on the domestic market, as well as stimulating exports. In the 1990s, it was responsible for the administrative, financial and technical support of the Brazilian Privatization Program, assisting in the sale of large State-owned Brazilian companies, which began in 1991.
In the 1990s, the BNDES emphasized its role in regional decentralization through heavier investment in less developed regions in Brazil, as well as support for exports of micro, small and medium-sized companies. The environmental issue gained importance with the classification of the environmental risk of projects.
The Bank began to support the cultural sector in 1995 through investments in movie production and the preservation of Brazilian historical and artistic heritage. Investment in the cultural economy was systematized as of 2006, and financing was granted to all phases of the production chain.
In the 21st Century, the BNDES has confirmed its social nature, aiming at promoting local and regional development, social and environmental commitment and the innovation capacity in projects that request its support. These are the most pressing challenges in an ever changing and dynamic world.