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Awards for excellence - Colombia

Best bank:

Banco de Bogotá

Best debt house:

Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney

Colombia's banking system is nothing fantastic, and the best that can be said about Banco de Bogotá is that not only is it the biggest bank in the country, it is also better than all of the others. Its first-quarter earnings this year rose 72% year on year, bringing the bank's core banking operations to profitability for the first time in eight quarters.

Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney wins the best debt house award, after acting as the exclusive adviser to the government on June's Ps6.1 trillion ($2.7 billion) domestic debt swap - the largest financial transaction in Colombian history. This reduced the government's total amortization payments by Ps5.6 trillion over the next four years, vastly exceeding the country's initial goal of Ps2.3 trillion.

Furthermore, the transaction more than doubled the average life of the eligible portfolio of securities to 3.41 years from 1.43 years. The average life of the total domestic debt portfolio increased to 4.5 years from 3.4 years.

The transaction also had a positive impact in the secondary market trading of local TES securities, as the bid-offer spread for the new three-year TES declined from a historical average of 15 basis points to 4bp after the transaction.

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