Reshaping the banking landscape
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Reshaping the banking landscape

Argentine banks turn the corner

How the crisis felled Argentina's banks

From disaster comes opportunity. Although Argentina's financial crisis triggered the departure of foreign banks such as Scotiabank and the subsidiaries of Crédit Agricole, it also allowed some local players to take advantage and enhance their position. Banks that were previously considered second tier are now competing with stalwarts such as Banco Río, BBV Banco Frances and Banco Galicia.

"In a way, these banks had the right mix of assets at the time of the crisis," says Miguel Kiguel, a former finance secretary. "They weren't large retail banks. They didn't have to pay out big compensations. They had lots of liquidity and they made money. They didn't have to deal with the burden of the crisis and could concentrate on the future."

Leading the charge are Banco Macro Bansud and Banco Patagonia. Both have grown opportunistically since the crisis and are now among the 10 biggest banks in the country. Macro Bansud is the more aggressive of the two. Founded in 1995 as Banco Bansud, the bank demonstrated its credentials following its merger with Banco Macro in the heart of the crisis in January 2002.

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