Thursday, March 15, 2007

Scotiabank Chile Seeks to Double Customer Base by 2012

BNamericas, Jorge Porter, 15 March 2007

The Chilean unit of Canada's Scotiabank is looking to double checking accounts to 120,000 in five years, CEO James Callahan told BNamericas.

To do so, Scotiabank Sud Americano plans to open 11 branches by end-September to reach 65 nationwide, he said.

Callahan reiterated the bank is looking to grow both organically and through acquisitions in Chile.

"We are always looking at the market for purchase opportunities in all financial markets, including pensions," he said.

Furthermore, Scotiabank has said it wants to expand its investment banking operations in some of the 50 countries where it already offers consumer banking.

"Establishing new offices makes sense in countries such as Chile, where we have mining clients," a bank spokesperson said.

Last January, the local unit sold 91.7bn pesos (US$168mn) worth of 10-year bonds to finance projected growth in mortgage loans. Callahan said the bank might think of similar issues this year to keep funding residential mortgage lending.

Scotiabank Sud Americano commands a 2.4% overall market share and a 3.4% market share in mortgage loans. The bank operates mostly caters to large companies and SMEs as well as middle and high-income individuals.