A Giant Moves In
In one fell swoop, HSBC has become a large Central American bank through its purchase of Panamanian financial powerhouse Banistmo.
HSBC's $1.77 billion all-cash purchase
of Panama-based financial group Banistmo has stealthily
inserted the world's No. 3 bank into an oft-overlooked corner
of Latin America, a region it first set out to conquer in 1997
with the purchase of assets in Brazil and Argentina. Banistmo
has operations in five Central American countries and a small
presence in Colombia. Its base, in Panama City, has strong
economic prospects thanks to a planned expansion of the Panama
After the global banking consolidation of the last decade,
there are thinner profit margins in the US and Europe. And so,
opening new banking frontiers is critical to growth for HSBC.
The bank's revenue is already growing twice as fast in Latin
America as in Europe and North America. "At HSBC, we believe
that most growth in demand for financial services will take
place in emerging economies in the...
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