Colmombia: BBVA unit to invest US$148mn this year

Feb 2008
Colombia, February, 12 2008 - BBVA Colombia will spend 282bn pesos (US$148mn) this year to open 18 new branches and strengthen its self-service terminals, the bank's recently appointed chairman Óscar Cabrera said in a statement

"Our expansion plan includes opening three new corporate banking branches, 15 retail branches and we aim to have 100 non-banking correspondents and 54 new ATMs functioning by year-end," he said.

Additionally, the bank will this year begin operating in the leasing segment with a 25bn-peso investment and expects to launch the country's first microcredit bank in 3Q08, under the wing of its Spanish parent BBVA's (NYSE: BBV) non-profit microfinance arm Fundación BBVA para las Microfinanzas.

"Thanks to the alliance we signed with the Bogotá and Medellín units of Women's World Banking, we will have a bank with 57 branches located in 28 municipalities and a 55,000-strong customer base," Cabrera said.

BBVA Colombia - the country's largest foreign-owned bank in terms of overall market share - grew profits 30% last year to 320bn pesos.

Loans increased 27.5% to 11.8tn pesos at end-December compared to the same time 2006, allowing the bank to gain 40 basis points of market share.

The bank's non-performing loan ratio (NPL) stood at 1.79% at the end of last year with the NPL coverage ratio at 229%.

At the same time BBVA Colombia had 17.4tn pesos in assets


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