An effective mix of aggressive marketing, higher-margin
products and a rigorous pursuit of efficiency has enabled
Mexico's Grupo Santander-Serfin to post some impressive results
and set it apart from its two much larger competitors, BBVA
Bancomer and Citigroup's Banamex, which dominate Mexico's
banking market. Santander-Serfin, the result of the current
merger of Santander Mexicano and Banca Serfin, combines
impressive profitability with a robust balance sheet, a notable
achievement for a Mexican bank. Although it is only the
country's third-largest bank in terms of assets, with a 16%
market share, it earned $524 million, or 22.2% of the financial
system's net income last year. In contrast, BBVA Bancomer, the
country's largest bank with a 26% market share, earned about
the same profits as Santander. The bank's 34% return on equity
in the first half of this year far exceeded that of its peers.
Non-performing loans represent a...
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