Mexican financial group Grupo Financiero Banorte has officially taken control of fellow Mexican bank Bancrecer, Banorte said in a statement.
Banorte picked up government-run Bancrecer at an auction in September 2001 for 1.65bn pesos (US$174mn at the time), in which Banorte was the only bidder. The acquisition propelled Banorte into fourth place in Mexico's financial system, trailing only Banamex, BBVA Bancomer and Santander.
Banorte will now commence the integration process of Bancrecer, which is slated to concluded before 2003.
Banorte announced after the acquisition that it would spend 1.05bn pesos to restructure banking operations, upgrade and unify IT systems, and change the logo of Bancrecer branches to Banorte. Banorte has 453 branches, while Bancrecer has 754, of which 200 will be closed.
Banorte expects to generate savings of 611mn pesos during 2002 and 807mn pesos during 2003 thanks to the merger.