(Updates with formal appointment throughout)
By Jeferson Ribeiro and Guillermo Parra-Bernal
BRASILIA/SAO PAULO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday named former planning minister Miriam Belchior to run state-controlled Caixa Econômica Federal , the latest move in a broad reshuffle of her economic team.
Belchior, who replaces Jorge Hereda at the helm of Brazil’s largest mortgage lender, will take office on Feb. 23, according to a statement by Rousseff’s office. Hereda will stay at Caixa until Belchior forms a new management team, the statement added.
Reuters reported earlier in the day, citing two sources, that Belchior was Rousseff’s top choice to run Brasilia-based Caixa. During her first term, Rousseff used Caixa and fellow state banks as policy tools to stimulate access to credit and slash borrowing costs to jumpstart economic growth.
Belchior’s appointment comes as concerns mount that years of rapid growth in Caixa’s loan book could hammer the bank’s capital position and trigger a jump in defaults. During her four years in the cabinet, Belchior was seen as a loyal Rousseff foot soldier.
In December, Rousseff said she first favored an initial public offering of Caixa, which could happen within the next 18 months. According to the earlier Reuters report, neither source knew whether Belchior, who has a degree in food processing and a masters in public administration, plans to sponsor Caixa’s listing.
Under Hereda, who took office in 2011, Caixa more than doubled its assets and lending and entered segments in which the bank had little loan origination experience, such as corporate and infrastructure lending.
Speculation over his replacement has left the bank “paralyzed” since Rousseff won reelection at the end of October, one of the sources noted. (Additional reporting by Aluísio Alves in Brasilia; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andre Grenon)