Colombia: Financial Regulator Says Six Firms Seek to Open Banks

Jun 2010
Colombia, June, 02 2010 - Colombia's financial regulator has said that six firms, local and foreign, are seeking to open new banks in the country, reports Dow Jones.

The regulator has not identified any of the firms. Some of the new banks would focus on micro-lending, the business of small loans to informal companies without collateral, which is popular in developing countries, the report said.

Financial firms need to fulfil a series of requisite conditions and must secure the approval from the Colombian regulator to have the right to open formal banks. While the banks have the right to raise money from depositors, customers are protected by the country's insurance fund for deposits.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorean privately owned Banco Pichincha has said that it will start the paperwork to open a bank in Colombia. Last month, Chilean retailer SACI Falabella (FALABELLA.SN) was granted the right to open a bank in Colombia, the report said.

Spain's bank BBVA (BBV) (NYSE:BBV) (BBVA.MC) has last year opened Bancamia, a bank focused on micro-lending, in partnership with a local non governmental organization, it added.


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