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Colombian banks grow with buying spree

Monday, September 22, 2014

Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores, controlled by billionaire Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo, has overtaken lenders including Mexico’s Grupo Financiero Banorte to become Latin America’s biggest banking group by assets.

Colombian banks have spent $10 billion expanding abroad since 2007, more than triple that of their Chilean counterparts, picking up assets from European companies seeking to raise capital in the aftermath of the global credit crisis.

Financial services now account for a fifth of Colombia’s $380 billion economy, marking a stark turnaround from the beginning of the century, when lenders needed a bailout after a recession and high unemployment lead to defaults on loans.

Source: Bloomberg