* Panama's banking regulator announced the seizure of afterthe company was sanctionedby the U.S. Treasury for its alleged ties to a money laundering operation, Reutersreported. The regulator said there are no contagion risks for Panama's banking sector.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* S&P Global Ratings downgraded its long-term global scaleissuer credit rating on Banco Internacionalde Costa Rica SA to BB- from BB and removed the rating from CreditWatchwith negative implications. After applying stress test assumptions to measure thebank's resilience to a hypothetical scenario in which Costa Rica defaults, the ratingagency concluded that the lender would not meet the minimum regulatory capital requirementsto pass the test.
* Bankaool SA Instituciónde Banca Múltiple launched a special funding programfor barley producers in the Mexican states of Hidalgo, Puebla and Tlaxcala, El Economista reported.
* CIBanco SA Instituciónde Banca Múltiple will offer special loans,at lower interest rates and with better terms, to people who want to purchase environment-friendlycars or houses, El Economista reported.
* Cetip SA – MercadosOrganizados reported adjusted netincome of 152.4 million Brazilian reais for the first quarter, down slightlyfrom 152.6 million reais in the year-ago period.
* Brazil's Supreme Court suspendedEduardo Cunha from his position as lower house speaker over allegations that hetried to impede a corruption probe, Reuters reported.
* Fitch Ratings knocked Brazil further into junk territory byloweringthe country's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to BBfrom BB+. The downgrade reflects Brazil's deeper-than-expected economic recessionand heightened political uncertainty, among other factors.
* Brazilian auto insurers will see slower growth in 2016 as newauto sales declinedue to the country's economic downturn, Moody's said. Despite various headwinds,the rating agency expects auto insurers' capitalization levels to remain steady.
* Brazilian fixed-income funds recorded a net inflowof 40.22 billion Brazilian reais during the first four months of 2016, Valor Econômico reported, citing local financialand capital markets association Anbima.
* Savings withdrawals in Brazil exceededdeposits by about 8.25 billion Brazilian reais in April, compared to net withdrawalsof 5.85 billion reais in the same month a year ago, Valor Econômico reported.
* Banco Centraldo Brasil announced the extrajudicial liquidationof Rio de Janeiro-based brokerage firm Estratégia Investimentos Corretora de Câmbioafter discovering serious violations of legal statutes, Valor Econômico reported.
* Banco Centralde la República Argentina said it adopted measures to the monthly minimum of U.S. dollarcurrency purchases to $5 million from $2 million. The move is part of an overallplan to remove remaining currency controls in Argentina during the coming months.
* Banco del Estadode Chile said it placed two series of five-year bonds worth a total of 5 million UF, or about $200 million.Funds from the issuance will be used to finance long-term commercial developmentat the bank.
* Loan growth among Chilean banks slowedin all business segments in the first quarter, but performance remained within arange that maintains Fitch Rating's stable outlook on the sector, the rating agencysaid. Higher loan-loss provisions and declining financial operations and currencyexchange also had an impact on quarterly results, but a 50% reduction in the corporatetax rate balanced out these negative factors, Fitch said.
* Three leading BancoSantander Chile executives resignedvoluntarily after revealing that they had investments in private equity firm GrupoArcano, which is being investigated by regulators for possible fraud, Diario Financiero reported. The bank didnot disclose the names of the executives.
* Grupo de InversionesSuramericana SA unit SuramericanaSA will invest$15 million in Argentina following its purchase of RSA Insurance Group Plc's operations in the country, Cronista reported.
* Raymond James Global Securities Ltd. has reached a definitiveagreement to sellits stake in Raymond James Latin Advisors and Raymond James Uruguay to RiverdingFinancial LLC, El Pais reported.
* Argentine securities commission CNV is looking to changeits rules for the capital market in order to facilitate local and foreign investors,La Nacion reported, citing Marcos Ayerra,the CNV's president.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Governments in Latin America will have less flexibilityto improve economic growth through fiscal measures in 2016 as growth remains lacklusterand commodity prices stay low, Moody's said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THEWORLD
* HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA is appealing a HK$605 million fine imposed by Hong Kong's securitiesregulator for alleged misconduct in selling products to private banking clients,The Wall Street Journal reported.
* Experts at Banco de Portugal recommendthat an autonomous government body, controlled by the Ministry of Finance, shouldtake responsibility for the sale of failing banks to avoid conflicts of interestbetween banking supervision and the selling of failed banks, Económico reports.
* A U.S. grand jury is said to be reviewingevidence against Rabobank— now known as Cooperative Rabobank U.A. — and its current and former officialsover alleged lapses that purportedly allowed a Mexican drug cartel to launder money,Bloomberg News reports. U.S. prosecutors have already spent three years investigatingwhether Rabobank's U.S. retail banking unit, Rabobank NA, ignored signs that thecartel transferred money through the bank. DeTelegraaf adds that U.S. authorities are assessingthe possibility of pressing charges against individuals.
S&P Global Ratingsand Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
Matthew Craze contributedto this article.
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