Argentina slaps suspension order on Banco Finansur

Friday, November 10, 2017

Argentina's central bank has ordered lender Banco Finansur to halt operations for 30 days.

The central bank cited non-compliance with deadlines stipulated in a recapitalization plan.

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Excluded from the order are the payment of staff salaries and benefits and the collection of loan payments. Card transactions and payments to merchants can also continue, the central bank said in a statement.

Banco Finansur is among Argentina's smallest banks. In June, by assets the lender was ranked 61st out of the 78 financial institutions registered with the central bank. It held assets of 1.868bn pesos (US$107mn) and had liabilities of 1.842bn pesos. By net equity (26mn pesos) it was the smallest banks in the country.

It posted a loss of 56.6mn pesos for January-June.

The bank's controlling shareholder is Indalo Inversiones de Argentina, which has a 71% stake. It has eight branches in six provinces, and 10 ATMs.

Indalo is headed by local businessman Cristóbal López, who acquired the Finansur stake for US$125mn in 2015. He hit the headlines last year over an outstanding 8bn-peso tax bill. The central bank has also reportedly pressured him to sell his stake in Finansur.

López has interests in the gambling sector and in July the central bank, in a bid to nudge López out of Finansur, introduced a regulation that restricts bank shareholders from having interests in the likes of casinos, local paper La Nación reported.

The bank and Indalo did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by BNamericas.