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BEST BANK: Banco de Crédito del Peru

Facing strong competitive from Spain’s BBVA Continental and the growing presence of other foreign operators such as HSBC and Scotiabank, locally owned Banco de Crédito del Perú has held on to its leading market share of 32% by developing its loan portfolio for consumers and small businesses. The bank’s profits rose 117% to $208 million last year – a bigger jump than its competitors achieved – while its assets grew 34.4% to $9.6 billion. Its loan portfolio is considerably larger than BBVA’s at $4 billion. Shareholders have applauded the bank’s strategy of reducing its non-performing loans, pushing new projects such as auto financing and increasing assets, sending BCP’s shares to record levels of above six soles ($1.83), double the level of December 2004. Banco de Credito is expected to shrug off a fall in business in the past two months following instability surrounding Peru’s June presidential elections and plans to focus on the untapped low-income retail segment.

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