Central America roundup: Promérica, General, Lafise, bank secrecy

- Monday, August 29, 2011

Central America roundup: Promérica, General, Lafise, bank secrecy

Costa Rican bank Promérica has launched a new premium credit card called Promérica MasterCard Black as part of its move toward becoming an upscale retail bank.

The card offers various discounts in local shops and restaurants and gives miles on any airline.

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The expansion of Central American banking groups in Costa Rica continues, as Nicaragua-based Banco Lafise and Panama-based Banco General open their newest branches in the country.

Lafise is opening its 14th Costa Rican branch and plans to invest US$500,000 in the second half of the year to further expand its presence in the country.

General is opening its fifth Costa Rican branch, which will serve the western part of capital San José's metropolitan area.

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The head of Guatemala's banking watchdog SIB, Víctor Mancilla, has urged the country's congress to approve a new banking regulation law to combat corruption stemming from bank secrecy protection.

Guatemala remains on the "gray list" of tax havens drawn up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Moreover, it is the only country on the list refusing to cooperate with the OECD for its removal.