Bank of the Year, Paraguay: Banco Continental

Nov 1, 2013

Staging a complicated debut in the international debt market in 2012 makes Paraguay’s largest bank stand out

Volatile. That’s the best way to describe Paraguay’s growing economy and attendant banking system. Growth has been erratic, and the economy and financial system have had to navigate troubles in the agricultural sector, a driver of growth and the banking system’s main source of business.

The economy grew 13% in 2010, 4% in 2011 and then shrank 1% last year, according to the World Bank. This year, some estimates have it finishing above 10%. New president Horacio Cartes says he would like to see a steadier annual rate of 7% to 8%.

Few doubt the tremendous potential of the country and for the banking system in particular, with many potential customers still remaining out of the formal system.

Investor interest and renewed optimism for the country’s future have followed the presidential elections in April. Moves to better integrate with the global financial system — including through the...

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