PERU RETAIL: Dear Prudence

Nov 1, 2008

Expansion in Peruvian retail banking will likely be slowed by the global meltdown. But a rise in thrifts opens up new frontiers to offset contraction.

by Lucien Chauvin Prudent. That is the word used most often to describe Peru’s banking system by people both inside and outside the sector. And it is being heard almost daily as the international financial crisis deepens and authorities try to gauge the impact on the country’s banks. “Our bankers are very prudent. The international exposure is relatively low,” finance minister Luis Valdivieso said in late September. The minister, however, says the government is closely watching for signs that this might change, in order to be able to act accordingly.  Two areas being monitored very closely are the currency and local bourse. The sol, thanks to interventions from the Central Bank (BCR), has remained relatively stable, depreciating just 1.1% in September, compared to the Chilean and Colombian pesos, which depreciated 7.7% and 12.8%, respectively, that same month, according to BCR data. The BCR sold more than $3 billion in September and...

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