Bank of the Year 2018 -- Bolivia: Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz

Bank of the Year 2018 -- Bolivia: Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz

In 2017, Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz hit a new milestone for a Bolivian bank: its total assets reached $5 billion.

The Bolivian lender has outpaced its rivals as its asset growth continued this year, reaching $5.1 billion by October. In fact, the bank has grown its assets by more than $925 million since 2016, helped in part by its acquisition last year of Banco PyME Los Andes ProCredit from Germany’s ProCredit.

At the end of June 2018, Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz was Bolivia’s leading bank in terms of loans, with 14.5% of the market, according to the ratings agency Moody’s. It also was the leader in total deposits, with 17.3% of the market. The bank expanded its loan portfolio 7% during the first six months of the year to 22.70 billion bolivianos.

Like other Bolivian banks, it has grappled this year with slower than usual growth in Bolivian financial services. But Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz built on its leading market position by deepening its digital presence.

It continued to see growth in its Banx brand, which is a lending and banking program aimed at consumers between the ages 21 and 35. The bank also implemented a new service allowing customers to withdraw money from ATMs without needing to use their debit cards and advanced its web-based corporate banking platform. LF