Uncertainty hits planning, says Venezuela’s Banesco

Uncertainty hits planning, says Venezuela’s Banesco

Uncertainty over Venezuela’s economic and financial future has been one of the biggest challenges to profitability and long term planning for the country’s largest privately-owned lender, its chairman has told LatinFinance

The bank is Venezuela’s largest privately-owned lender, with a 13.8% market share at the end of September, according to regulatory data.

“It has been a big challenge to [maintain profitability] while complying with the full regulatory framework and with the risk standards that we have defined internally — and all of this in a changeable and unpredictable economic environment, which has made planning very difficult,” Juan Carlos Escotet said.

In response, the bank has tried to operate in a way that allows it to adapt swiftly, he says.

Banesco — LatinFinance’s 2013 Bank of the Year Venezuela — has nonetheless performed well, lifting return on equity 20 points to 80.88% in the year to June, and return on assets by one point, to 5.97%.

Banesco plans to grow by upgrading its online banking operations and consolidating its international presence, Escotet said.

“The bank has the goal of maintain its status as the most important privately-owned financial institution in Venezuela, and to continue exporting its successful business model,” Escotet said.

“To that end, Banesco seeks to continue its expansion in the markets where it already has a presence, and consolidate its operations in Colombia and Spain, where it has most recently entered.” LF

For the complete list of the 2013 Banks of the Year, see the November/December edition of LatinFinance.