Public Banking in Pandemic Times: Portugal’s Caixa Geral de Depósitos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


It is widely acknowledged that public banks have the potential to play an anti-cyclical role in times of economic crisis. As lending by private banks dries up, public banks step in. The world is currently confronting a twin crisis: a pandemic that has generated a profound recession. Within this public health and economic crisis, what role do state-owned banks play? This chapter examines how Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD) has responded to the crisis in Portugal. It shows that the CGD acted swiftly when faced with a pandemic. It launched its own initiatives and it played a role within the Portuguese Government’s response. Some of the most important measures were the debt moratoria, various credit lines and a series of steps to facilitate the digitalization of finance. These measures helped to accommodate the lockdown and to mediate its economic effects on families and businesses. Despite this, the bank’s initiatives need to be understood within the competitive – and indeed profit seeking – logic in which the CGD operates. Further research is required to investigate the extent to which CGD’s response differed from that of the private banks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Banks and Covid-19: Combatting the Pandemic with Public Finance
EditorsDavid McDonald, Thomas Marois, Diana Barrowclough
Place of PublicationKingston / Geneva / Brussels
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2021


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