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BANKING

Nicaragua Best Bank: Banco de la Producción (Banpro)

Bahamas I Bardados I Bermuda I Dominician Republic I Jamaica I Trinidad & Tobago I Costa Rica I El Salvador I Guatemala I Honduras I Nicaragua I Panama I Argentina I Bolivia I Brazil I Chile I Colombia I Ecuador I Mexico I Paraguay I Peru I Uruguay I Venezuela

Nicaragua’s largest bank, Banco de la Producción (Banpro), reported a 43% increase in 2005 profits compared with the previous year thanks to higher revenues from lending and fees, while its closest competitor, Banco de Crédito Centro Americano, reported a far slower increase in profits in the same period. The bank, founded in 1991, has maintained a solid asset base in one of Latin America’s poorest countries, accounting for 30% of the banking market, or $834 million at the end of March this year. Banpro’s net loans increased 38% to $335 million last year as a result of strong growth in corporate and retail lending. The bank, which last year acquired smaller rival Banco Caley Dagnall from El Salvador’s Banco Agrícola for an undisclosed sum, has also played a key role in providing financing to small businesses in a country without developed capital markets.

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