The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Paraguay plays safe

The country’s biggest banks have kept profits up by keeping banking simple and benefiting from enviable net interest margins. But are they too conservative for their own – and the economy’s – good?


The Sudameris Bank boardroom in downtown Asunción is thick with smoke as Conor McEnroy stubs out his third cigarette into a giant glass ashtray barely 15 minutes into what turns out to be a three-hour conversation about Paraguay’s financial system and how the 56-year-old Irishman wound up owning what is now the country’s fifth-largest bank by lending.

“If you hang around broken banks for long enough, eventually you will be offered one,” he deadpans. 

That is what happened in 2003 when McEnroy was running ABN Amro’s Latin America M&A franchise in New York, which he had set up to focus on consulting and fixing distressed banks in the region.


Conor McEnroy,

“I was the guy who would go in through the back door or through the basement, and always be working in the shadows, because if the regulators saw me in there they knew what that meant,” he says.

McEnroy is a touch more colourful than the average banker, recounting his story while sipping tea from a Charlotte Bronte mug in a boardroom that he has decorated with more than a dozen Kaufman prints of Marilyn Monroe.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree