Best Bank − El Salvador: Banco Agrícola

Bridge to Salvador Banco Agrícola is the centerpiece of Bancolombia’s strategy to establish a meaningful presence in Central America. The May 2007 purchase earned the Colombian powerhouse a solid footprint in a highly sought after region, and just in time.

Best Bank − Guatemala: Banco Industrial

Big Fish Banco Industrial’s acquisitions of Banco del Occidente in 2006, Banco del Comercio in 2007 and Banco Quetzal this year, make it king of a fragmented but quickly consolidating market. It now commands a 28% share in Guatemala, according to the bank, with assets of $5.4 billion as of June. Industrial is also the…

Best Bank − Jamaica: Scotiabank

Finding Growth Competition is tight at all ends of Jamaica’s banking market. The system’s two largest, Scotiabank and National Commercial Bank (NCB) were nearly level in assets as of mid-year, with 287 billion and 280 billion Jamaican dollars, respectively. Profitability was also close, with Scotia claiming an ROE of 25.61% and NCB 29.54%, as of…

Best Bank − Mexico: BBVA Bancomer

Storm Protected No one can yet be sure how much Mexico’s economy will suffer next year from the global credit mess and US slowdown. Over the past several years, its banks have lent ever more aggressively as they try to poach customers from each other and recruit from the lower-earning unbanked masses. A slowdown in…

Banks of the Year 2008: Bradesco tops roll of honor

The Bank of the Year −   Banco BradescoBest Bank − Argentina   Banco Santander Best Bank − Brazil   Banco BradescoBest Bank − Bolivia   Banco Mercantil Santa CruzBest Bank − Chile   Banco Santander Best Bank − Colombia   Banco de BogotáBest Bank – Costa Rica   Banco Nacional de Costa RicaBest Bank − Dominican Republic   Banco Popular Best Bank −…

Best Bank − Panama: Banco General

General Still Commands It has been over a year since Panama’s Banco General completed integration with Banco Comercial, creating a national champion with $7.2 billion in assets, 21% of the system’s private loans and 25% of local deposits. With HSBC still working to fully consolidate Banistmo, General still has a dominant position – for now.…

Local Investment Bank − Brazil: Itaú BBA

Bank to Beat? After establishing itself as a leading homegrown regional investment bank franchise, over the past couple of years Itaú BBA has begun to occupy a niche as a hub for anything Brazil-related. A marginal player just five years ago, it has become the investment bank to beat in LatAm’s biggest economy.

Best Bank − Puerto Rico: First BanCorp

Up in a Downturn Despite an ongoing local recession that has lasted more than two years, FirstBank Puerto Rico during the past 12 months has grown assets, market share and deposits. In the near future it may continue to grow through acquisitions, but there is also a possibility that it will be swallowed by Scotiabank.

Local Investment Bank − Mexico: Citi-Banamex

Diverse for all Seasons Most of the large institutions operating in Mexico fail to convince across all investment bank lines. BBVA Bancomer is the debt leader by volume this year, but it lacks the same commitment to M&A, as does Santander.

Best Bank – Trinidad and Tobago: Republic Bank

Energizing the Base After an unsuccessful foray into the Dominican Republic, Republic Bank has curtailed regional expansion plans and is focusing on Trinidad and Tobago. It sold its Dominican assets to BHD in October 2007 and has since greatly improved risk management.

Best Bank − Uruguay: Banco de la Republica

FDI Booster Uruguay’s Banco de la República, the country’s largest bank in terms of deposits, has started to notch up an excellent performance on the back of firm economic growth. The Uruguayan economy has been roaring ahead at more than 7% a year following the 2002 economic crisis, according to the IMF. At first, expansion…

Local Investment Bank − Chile: Larrain Vial

Golden Opportunity Larrain Vial, one of Chile’s most active investment banks, believes it will fare well after the recent turmoil on Wall Street, which should diminish competition. And it does not think the reputation of investment banking generally has been tarnished.

Best Bank − Venezuela: Banco Mercantil

Minding the Business Venezuela’s government may meddle in the banking sector, but Mercantil Banco Universal –one of the country’s biggest financial institutions – continues to grow. However, a global economic slowdown threatens continued expansion.

Best Bank − Argentina: Banco Santander

Positioned to Survive Santander Río, Argentina’s leading bank in terms of number of clients after the two public ones, is one of the most profitable financial institutions in the country. All banks in Argentina had their reputations tarnished during the 2001 economic crisis but Santander Río has one of the best images locally.

Best Multilateral: Inter-American Development Bank

Forward Lateral Long before it was making $6 billion available to boost regional liquidity, providing $400 million to the Panama Canal, or preparing $150 million to prop up Mexican RMBS, the IDB had gone from lender of last resort to innovator of first choice. The institution’s funding was as crucial to keeping tiny businesses afloat…

Best Bank − Bolivia: Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz

BMSC Wrestles Conflict Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz (BMSC), Bolivia’s biggest bank, says the recent social unrest has not yet impacted on the economy or the banking system. However, the bank, which has 235,000 clients and 57 branches throughout Bolivia, believes that could change.

Best Bank − Colombia: Banco de Bogotá

Mighty Challenger The executive suite of Banco de Bogotá’s headquarters has one of the best views of Colombia’s capital. Alejandro Figueroa Jaramillo, the bank’s president, has just delivered first half performance figures to the board, which includes members of Grupo Aval, the majority owner of the bank and Colombia’s largest financial conglomerate. As he sits…

Best Bank − Chile: Banco Santander

Outstripping the Population Chile’s Santander, the country’s biggest deposit-taking bank, has seen its client base jump to three million people, an increase of 40% during the past three years. It has a network of 2,016 ATMs and 468 branches, the biggest reach in the country, according to the bank. Its total deposits amounted to $22.3…

Best Bank – Costa Rica: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

Bigger Fish, Shrinking Pond Worsening global conditions in the past year have done little to shake up the Costa Rican banking landscape. Lenders are taking a conservative stance until the full impact is known, particularly regarding the vital tourism sector.

Best Bank − Dominican Republic: Banco Popular

Welcome to the Top Banco Popular Dominicano is beating its peers in the Dominican Republic in terms of market share by assets, surpassing even the government-backed Banco de Reservas, the previous leader. And although the economy of the Dominican Republic is seeing signs of deceleration, Popular’s non performing loans (NPLs) are at a minimum when…

Best Bank − Ecuador: Banco Pichincha

Bucking the Trend Ecuador’s Banco del Pichincha is clinging on to a AA+ rating from Fitch subsidiary Bank Watch Ratings, despite global financial crisis and a government that many foreign investors would not have on their shopping lists. In fact, Bank Watch lists political risk as one of the main threats to Pichincha.