Honduras Best Bank: Banco Grupo El Ahorro Hondureño
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Making the most of Honduras’s strong economic growth and falling inflation in the past two years, Banco Grupo El Ahorro recently unseated Banco Atlantida as the country’s largest bank and its profits soared 50% in 2005 thanks to strong loan growth. Owned by Panama’s Grupo Banistmo, BGA’s assets rose 9% to $7.9 billion at the end of 2005 and the bank now has the country’s biggest loan portfolio, after growing that arm of its business 27% last year. BGA has also worked hard to restore confidence in Honduras’s financial system since several banks collapsed or were liquidated because of poor management between 1999 and 2001. Indeed, BGA’s non-performing loan portfolio fell to 2.1% at the end of last year. As with banks in El Salvador and Guatemala, BGA hopes Cafta will boost the economy and the banking sector, presenting an opportunity for loans to the textile, telecoms, housing and tourism sectors.