A Special Kind of Bank

Nov 1, 2001

Venezuela has endured years of tumult, but banco Mercantil has managed to keep growing thanks to strong leadership, well-timed acquisitions and international alliances.

It takes a special kind of bank to weather decades of upheaval. Few have done so with as much tenacity and skill as Venezuela's Banco Mercantil. It was founded in 1925 in an 18th century house that among other functions had once served as a reception hall for Simón Bolívar, Venezuela's national hero and the leader of the wars of independence against Spain.

Over the years, while Venezuela has endured plenty of economic tumult and political convulsion, Mercantil has grown through a judicious mix of caution, some well-timed acquisitions and international alliances, and a growing commitment to high technology. These days, the bank is the largest in Venezuela and is headquartered in one of the tallest buildings in Caracas, slightly higher than the towers housing two of its principal foreign rivals - Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) of Spain.

At...

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