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M&A talk; New year predictions

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M&A talk; New year predictions

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents the week's latest news and trends in Latin American banking.

M&A talk

*Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA is considering selling its life annuities business in Chile, a move that market sources say could generate up to $30 million for the Colombian group. Grupo Security SA and BICECORP SA are reportedly among the parties interested in buying the business.

*Brazilian antitrust watchdog Cade's superintendent of competition has recommended that the regulator approves Itaú Unibanco Holding SA's acquisition of a 49.9% stake in the brokerage firm XP Investimentos SA as long as the parties comply with all the terms they have agreed to.

*Fitch foresees further consolidation among the 89 credit unions in Mexico in 2018 due to higher corporate governance costs.

*Banco Nacional de Bolivia SA acquired a credit portfolio from La Promotora EFV.

New year predictions

*Argentina increased its target for inflation in 2018 to 15% after failing to meet with a previous objective. The head of the country's central bank said the move will allow for the lowering of interest rates. The Argentine government also introduced a tax reform plan.

*Alejandro Díaz de León, the new governor of Banco de México, acknowledged Mexico's currency could endure an "adverse" environment in 2018 due to the NAFTA talks, U.S. tax reform and the Mexican presidential elections.

*BTG Pactual Chile SA is looking to more than double its credit business in 2018 to $700 million.

Lingering problems

*Costa Rica's National Financial System Supervisory Council took control for up to six months of troubled lender Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago, or Bancrédito, after the bank continued to struggle with poor financial performance and an inability to meet obligations.

*Brazil's National Financial System Resources Board annulled a 2010 decision made by financial regulator CVM on the now defunct state-run Banco do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

In other news

*MasterCard and Multicaja S.A., in December, launched a new card payment processing network in Chile, in a market that only had one player until recently.

*Ana Paula Vescovi, Brazil's National Treasury Secretary, said the sale of shares in Banco do Brasil SA held by the Sovereign Fund of Brazil, or FSB, will be completed by the end of 2018, earlier than the 2019 deadline previously set.

*Moody's upgraded Bolivia's Banco de Desarrollo Productivo - SA Mixta (BDP - S.A.M.) national scale long-term local currency deposit and issuer ratings to Aaa.bo from Aa1.bo, with a stable outlook.

*Chile's Banco Security SA carried out a capital increase through the issuance of 17.5 million new shares.

*Mexican commercial bank lending to households recorded its lowest growth in seven years in November, according to figures in the newest credit report from the central bank.

*The Mexican banking and retail conglomerate Grupo Coppel S.A. de C.V. will disburse $50 million in microcredits in the U.S. through a partnership with the startup company Insikt.

*Chile-based Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA or BCI, said the U.S. tax reform will result in a one-off negative impact of about $51.5 million on the bank's financial statements for 2017.

*Peru's financial regulator SBS on Dec. 20 published new market risk rules for companies across the financial system, which will be implemented June 1, 2018.