By Katie Llanos-Small
Colombia's banks: Foreign affairs
Colombia’s largest financial institutions are on an acquisition spree in Central America. With tough regulations at home, the diversification is welcome
Bancolombia’s announcement in February that it
planned to spend $2.1 billion buying HSBC’s assets
in Panama was always going to create a stir.
Not only was the acquisition the costliest ever undertaken
by a Colombian bank, it also included proposals for a revival
of the target’s original, pre-HSBC branding.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is the
highest-profile in a series of acquisitions by Colombian banks.
The country’s lenders are diversifying, growing,
and grabbing opportunities too good to turn down.
The three biggest banks — Bancolombia, Banco de
Bogotá and Davivienda — have all announced or
closed acquisitions in Central America in the past 18
These may take time to digest but there are strong
indications that the wave of expansion is far from over.
"When an acquisition opportunity appears for sale, we
analyze it and if we think it’s a good...
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