The invasion of Central America by Colombia’s major financial groups rumbled on on Tuesday after Bancolombia, the country’s leading bank, snapped up HSBC’s operations in Panama for $2.1bn.
Bancolombia, the Andean country’s biggest individual bank, is still thinking big.
Its Panamanian affiliate has reached a deal to buy a 40 per cent stake in Grupo Financiero Agromercantil, or GFA, owner several banking and financial institutions in Guatemala.
“The negotiation of the Grupo Financiero Agromercantil is essential to continue our international growth plan. The Central American financial sector has evolved significantly in recent years,” said Carlos Raúl Yepes, Bancolombia’s president.
The ballyhoo sparked by the peace talks between the FARC and the Colombian government dominated headlines last week, shadowing a banking milestone: Bancolombia borrowed a record $1.15bn in international debt markets. It also added $50m more during Asian market hours, bringing it to a total of $1.2bn.