Spain's Sabadell defies Trump with bullish plans for Mexico

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shrugging off concerns over troubling US-Mexico relations, Spanish bank Banco Sabadell is pressing forward in Mexico, with a plan to authorize 44bn pesos (US$2.2bn) in credit this year, a 30% expansion over 2016.

"2017 represents a key year in as much in developing [our] business in Mexico as in the effort to consolidate ourselves as a key player in the Mexican market," Sabadell said in a press release.

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While the bank has had some presence in Mexico since the 1990s, it only began operating as a bank a year ago, and in December, the group channeled 1.3bn pesos in capital to its Mexican subsidiary with another injection expected in March.

The plans for this year would see Sabadell increase its client loan book by 92% in Mexico and local business volume by 32%.

The bank stressed that its rollout in 2017 would be heavily focused on digitally driven personal banking – set for a major launch in October – and touted the current launch of a mobile app for businesses.

Sabadell also said it plans to open seven offices across Mexico in 2017, bringing the total number to 13, as well as expand its employee base by 68%.

"We continue to see this operation as a long-term project, under a projection of high growth and with a growing rate of financing in the short term," said Sabadell representative Jaime Guardiola in the press release.

At a press conference, Guardiola acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the Trump administration in the US, as it leads to higher dometic interest rates and could potentially stymie investment.

Noting he sees these impacts as temporary, Gardiola stressed that Mexico continues to have a highly advantageous economic position and a bright future built upon strong fundamentals that should help attenuate the Trump effect.

"There are few countries that have a future as clear as Mexico ... a country that has matured greatly," El Economista reported Gardiola as saying.