Bank of the Year, Venezuela: Banco Banesco

Nov 1, 2013

Banesco has extended its international reach with operations in Colombia and Spain

One theme dominated Venezuela's banking system over past year: lending expansion. Assets of the banking sector grew nearly 60% in the year to June 2013, according to Sudeban, the regulator. With inflation expected to run at around 40% this year, thanks to the government's aggressive increase of the money supply, that balance sheet expansion is to be expected.

Yet within that environment, some banks stood out for also strengthening their balance sheets. Banco Mercantil and Banco Banesco both improved capital and profitability over the year.

But it was Banco Banesco's ability to also keep bad loans in check that makes it Bank of the Year in Venezuela. Its lending expanded faster than the rest of the system - its balance sheet grew 71% over the year - but at the same time, capital and profitability also rose.

Banesco's capital ratio stood at 10.85% at mid-year, up nearly 50 basis...

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