Scotiabank sees Brazil as next stop in Latin American expansion plan

Friday, November 4, 2011

Canada's Scotiabank (NYSE: BNS) will continue to monitor growth opportunities in Brazil as part of its ongoing expansion in Latin America, Paula Cufré, head of international media, told BNamericas.

"We have confidence that there are significant growth opportunities in many markets such as Brazil, due to the combination of under-utilization of financial services, generally higher economic growth rates and young populations," she said.

Last month, the Canadian lender reached an agreement with Commerzbank to acquire Dresdner Bank Brasil. While Dresdner Bank Brasil operates as a wholesale bank, it also has a commercial banking license, allowing it to offer a range of financial services.

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Scotiabank retained this license as part of the acquisition and will operate as Scotiabank Brasil Banco Multiplo.

Scotiabank operates in 13 countries in Central and South America, and also owns a subsidiary in Mexico. It has 22,000 employees, 820 branches and 1,100 ATMs in the region.

The Canadian lender recently entered the Colombian retail banking sector through its purchase of a 51% stake in the country's eighth largest lender and the system's second biggest credit card issuer, Banco Colpatria ,for US$1bn.

Scotiabank entered Colombia in 2010 through Scotia Capital with the acquisition of The Royal Bank of Scotland's (NYSE: RBS) wholesale banking operations.

"A presence in Colombia will allow Scotiabank to be strategically positioned throughout Latin America to service the important cross-border trade flows with Peru, Chile, Central America and Mexico," Cufré said.

The Colpatria acquisition is expected to be accretive to Scotiabank's 2012 earnings. The Canadian lender will announce its fourth quarter results December 2.