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Latin America

The Spanish banks have emerged as worthy contenders. Banco Galicia can mix it with the best. Lloyds TSB continues to expand in Guatemala. Brian Caplen, Michael Peterson


Best domestic bank: Banco Galicia

Best foreign bank: Banco Frances

Best domestic bond house: Banco Galicia

Best foreign bond house: Deutsche Bank

Best domestic equity house: Provincia

Best foreign equity house: Banco Rio

Best foreign M&A house: Merrill Lynch

Banco Galicia has responded well to the invasion of its market by foreigners - in particular to the threat from BBVA, which took over Frances, and BSCH which owns Banco Rio de la Plata. Even with the extra competition it has been able to grow its market share.

Galicia has always been an innovator in areas such as the internet and the building up of the branch network when most banks were still focused on corporate lending. A concession to use the Argentine post office counters gives it extensive reach.

However, the bank is nothing if not flexible and in the first quarter of 2000 increased its corporate portfolio by 23% and decreased exposure to consumer loans as a hedge against a worsening economic situation. Its return on equity has improved from 13.06% to 14.36% for the third quarter of financial year 1999/2000 compared with 1998/1999 and Financial income amounted to Ps371.1

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