LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 48

BANK OF THE YEAR URUGUAY

BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA
ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY

The undisputed market
leader in Uruguay has
posted another strong year
Banco de la República Oriental del
Uruguay has solidified its position as the
country's dominant bank despite a sluggish
economy.
"In the last few years, the bank has
achieved strong profit levels even though
the economy has shown less dynamism
and interest rates are at historic lows,"
says Jorge Polgar, president of Banco de la
República Oriental.
The government backed-lender's role
in the banking sector remains strong,
accounting for around 40% of the market.
As of July, Banco de la República Oriental
had $15.5 billion in assets, according to
Moody's.
Distant runner-ups include competitors
that can tap into strong foreign support
and know-how to grow in areas such as
consumer finance. Santander Uruguay
holds a fairly distant second place, with
$5.9 billion in total assets, equal to nearly
15% of the loan market and almost 17% of
deposits, followed by Banco Itaú, with $4.5
billion in assets.

JORGE POLGAR, BANCO DE LA
REPÚBLICA ORIENTAL DEL URUGUAY

"THE BANK HAS
ACHIEVED STRONG
PROFIT LEVELS EVEN
THOUGH THE ECONOMY
HAS SHOWN LESS
DYNAMISM AND
INTEREST RATES ARE
AT HISTORIC LOWS"
48 LATINFINANCE.COM - November/December 2016

Economic growth in Uruguay is forecast
to slow this year to 0.5% from 1% in 2015.
The deceleration has impacted Banco de la
República Oriental's profitability, which fell
to $145 million in the mid-2015 to mid-2016
period from $207 million a year earlier. But
return on equity stood at 12.4%, well above
the system-wide average of 8.4%, according
to the bank's data. Return on assets was at
1.03% versus 0.61% for the entire banking
sector. LF

BANK OF THE YEAR VENEZUELA

BANCO MERCANTIL

In a highly challenging market for financial institutions,
this year's winner stands
out for controlling costs
and advancing digitally
The financial statements of Venezuela's
banks paint a curious picture. Net profits
are up and loan books are expanding
rapidly - not what one might expect from
lenders in such a difficult economy. But dig
a little deeper and there is little mystery:
the numbers reflect Venezuela's galloping
inflation, which the IMF expects to reach
500% this year. The country's economic
meltdown, triggered by a drop in oil prices
and rampant government overspending,
shows few signs of easing. The IMF
forecasts the economy will contract by 10%
in 2016.
Venezuela's larger banks are navigating
the crisis and accompanying volatility,
although triple-digit inflation makes it
extremely difficult to gauge banks' overall
financial performances. Nonetheless,
Banco Mercantil, LatinFinance's Bank of
the Year Venezuela 2016, has stood out for
growing its asset base, controlling costs
and incorporating digital technologies to
drive its business in a difficult operating
environment.
"We continue to focus on our long-term
strategy while constantly adapting to the
economic situation and the changes that
occur in the financial sector," says Nelson
Pinto Alves, Banco Mercantil's chief
executive officer.
The bank's assets grew 82.4% in the year
to June, reaching 697.8 million bolivares
($70 million). At the same time, it posted
the smallest increase in operating costs

NELSON PINTO ALVES
BANCO MERCANTIL

"WE CONTINUE TO
FOCUS ON OUR
LONG-TERM STRATEGY
WHILE CONSTANTLY
ADAPTING TO THE
ECONOMIC SITUATION
AND THE CHANGES
THAT OCCUR IN THE
FINANCIAL SECTOR"

among Venezuela's top four banks.
In a sign that Mercantil continues to
benefit from a strong customer base, the
bank holds the largest number of savings
accounts among the banks in the country,
with a 21.5% market share.
"It shows the confidence our clients
have in us," says Pinto.
Despite Venezuela's deepening
recession, soaring inflation and weakening
currency, Mercantil has pushed ahead with
plans to expand its digital presence and
increase its mobile banking offerings.
Over the last year, the bank became the
first in Venezuela to offer loans through a
mobile application. In the first quarter of
2016, Mercantil conducted more than 65
million electronic transactions on both its
personal and corporate banking mobile
apps.
The bank also launched a new online
bill-paying service that can be used not
only by Mercantil clients but those at other
banks too. LF


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LatinFinance - November/December 2016

Contents
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - Cover1
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - Cover2
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - Contents
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 2
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 3
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 4
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 5
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 6
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 7
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 8
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 9
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 10
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 11
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 12
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 13
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 14
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 15
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 16
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 17
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 18
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 19
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 20
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 21
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 22
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 23
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 24
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 25
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 26
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 27
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 28
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 29
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 30
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 31
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LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 33
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 34
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 35
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 36
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 37
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LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 48
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LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 51
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - 52
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - Cover3
LatinFinance - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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