BBVA looking to increase presence in existing markets

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spanish bank BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) is looking to increase its market share in the Chilean and Colombian banking systems, BBVA's general director for Latin America, Vicente Rodero, told BNamericas.

"We are looking to expand in some countries, where our market share is not large enough for our aspirations so, what we try to do is detect those opportunities and grow through them as they come."

Although BBVA has large pension and insurance businesses in Latin America, it is fundamentally in the banking industry where it is looking to increase operations, Rodero noted.

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As for expansion plans in new markets in the region, the executive said that the bank is always attentive to any opportunities that may help it to enter the Brazilian banking system. "In any way we can penetrate the Brazilian market would be ideal. It is an adventure we began a while ago and have not yet succeeded in and now face even slimmer chances," said Rodero, who noted that BBVA is open to enter Brazil alone or through an alliance with a partner.


The best decision that the bank had made in the last few years was entering emerging markets, such as Latin America, because it is now protecting it against the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, Rodero said, adding that investing in the region should always be seen as a long-term investment.

Unlike Spain's Santander (NYSE: STD), which recently sold a 7.8% stake in its local subsidiary Santander Chile (NYSE: SAN) for 486bn pesos (US$955mn) and sold to Chilean bank CorpBanca (NYSE: BCA) its entire operations in the Colombian market, BBVA is not planning on divesting in Latin America to raise capital, said Rodero at a conference organized by the bank, Spanish news daily El País and the Chilean government.


In his presentation, Rodero highlighted that the European sovereign debt crisis goes beyond a mere crisis, because it is bound to transform the entire banking business.

The BBVA executive also said that a crisis is no longer limited to being a regional crisis because in today's globalized world it will inevitably affect the entire global economy.