Latin America: Scotiabank wants to make the grade
Scotiabank has long had an interest in Latin America, with assets throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. Recently Canada’s number two bank has stepped up its presence by buying a bank in Chile, expanding in the Caribbean and announcing plans to open 100 branches in Mexico. Along with this push, the CEO announced the appointment of Anatol von Hahn, who will take over as head of Latin America in January. Chloe Hayward talks to Peter Cardinal, the head of Latin America at Scotiabank, about its plans for the future before he bows out.
"Latin America represents a tremendous growth platform because all the countries in the region have young populations and the banking penetration as a percentage of GDP in all these countries is quite low"
Why is Scotiabank so focused on Latin America? I worked in Mexico during the early days of the turnaround and certainly that gave us a better understanding of these markets. We’ve been in Chile and in Peru with minority interests, which we ultimately converted into controlling interests. But it’s really been because of the convergence of these countries in economic terms. Most of them, if not all, have trade agreements with other countries, with the US, and also, in terms of their economic management, the way the central bank is regulating the economy. All of these things, as well as the under-banked population, which gives us room to grow more than in other countries or regions.
Where do you see the main business opportunities?
Latin America represents a tremendous growth platform because all the countries in the region have young populations.