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|BEST BANK: Banco de Bogotá
BEST M&A HOUSE: Citigroup
Banco de Bogotá, Colombia’s second largest bank, has shown its determination in facing up to the challenge laid down by market leader Bancolombia, which last year merged with Colombia’s top mortgage lender, Conavi, and the country’s largest investment bank, Corfinsura, to create the country’s biggest bank. Banco de Bogotá has moved aggressively to take over local micro-credit bank Megabanco with a $358 million offer, ahead of Bancolombia’s bid. The Megabanco purchase will increase Banco de Bogotá’s market share by more than 2% to 14%, behind Bancolombia’s 20% share, but ahead of Spain’s BBVA, which has 8%. Banco de Bogotá, which reported a 33% rise in profits to $174 million last year as a result of higher returns from fixed-income instruments, plans to grow organically and will open 40 branches this year and grow its retail loan portfolio, expanding its business beyond corporate lending.