Bankers Unite!

Bankers Unite!

What a year this has been for Latin America's banks. Two acquisitions - one in Brazil and the other in Mexico - have reshaped two of the region's biggest markets. In December, Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH) spent $3.55 billion to buy Banespa, the São Paulo state bank. Overnight BSCH transformed itself from a marginal player in the region's biggest market to the third-largest private-sector bank in Brazil and the largest in Latin America as a whole, dwarfing even Brazil's huge state-owned institutions. In May, Citigroup paid a cool $12.5 billion in cash for Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival, Mexico's-largest financial group. That deal made Citibank one of the largest

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