Out of the Many, One?
Led by Panama and propelled by trade agreements, Central America seeks to extend growth. With stronger links to the US and Europe, it must decide how far to integrate.
by Ben Miller
In September 2006, HSBC bought Panamas Banistmo,
giving it access to new retail banking markets in Central
America and instantly making it the biggest bank in the
country. Not to be outdone, a merger between indigenous lenders
Banco General and Banco Comercial crowned a new Panamanian
Those transactions followed Citi and Scotias entrances
into Guatemala. Meanwhile, Guatemalas Banco Industrial
swallowed compatriots Banco Occidente and Banco Quetzal, as
well as Banco del Pais in neighboring Honduras. Industrial is
now looking to conquer southern Mexico.
There has been a significant movement in the last 18-24
months to increase integration among the different economies of
Central America, says Francisco Sierra, executive vice
president for finance at Banco General. The global and
regional banking institutions have taken action to acquire
banks to provide regional coverage for their clients
The individual countries different characteristics and
stages of development are a challenge, Sierra says,...
Already have an account?
Subscribe now for unlimited access to all current and archive news, data and market analysis.
Take a free two-week trial now for the latest news, data and market analysis.