Central America: Money laundering – consolidation from the bottom?
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Central America: Money laundering – consolidation from the bottom?

Roberto Zamora, president of Lafise, says that money-laundering regulation is the pertinent driver of consolidation throughout the region.


Roberto Zamora, president of Lafise

As the number of US banks that are willing to act as correspondent banks – and as those that continue to function in this capacity put added scrutiny and compliance costs on the regional banks, especially those with nesting accounts from other small local banks – the business model for small banking entities will, he argues, break down and lead to competitive advantages for pan-regional players. 

“The pressure on the lower end of the banking scale – which comes from the regulations that put added pressure on corresponding banking relationships – will have more of an impact on the banking system than those that affect G-Sibs,” Zamora says.

Franklin Santerelli, banking analyst at Fitch, thinks that BAC will be well placed to benefit – given both its scale and the experience that Grupo Aval has in complying with international regulations in this area. 

“BAC has meaningful operations in all these countries – as well as belonging to Banco de Bogotá – and so it won’t be an issue for them,” says Santerelli. “In fact it will probably create a competitive advantage in that the group has the knowledge and the capacity to streamline all the money-laundering activities to the other banks.

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