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Guatemala's central bank suspends operations at Financiera de Occidente

Board members at Guatemala's central bank unanimously voted to suspend the operations of Financiera de Occidente SA, a small lender that represents 0.35% of assets in the local banking sector.

The move comes at the request of the SIB banking regulator and is based on a report the watchdog sent to the central bank, Banco de Guatemala said in a statement.

SIB chief Érick Vargas Sierra said at a news conference that some management practices at Financiera de Occidente put the bank's solvency at risk. The SIB proposed a plan for the company to improve its standing, but the bank failed to comply with the plan in the given three-month period, Prensa Libre reported.

Banco de Guatemala has appointed officials to oversee Financiera de Occidente's orderly exit from the national banking system. It said the sector continues to operate under normal conditions.

The case marks the second intervention at a Guatemalan bank in recent weeks. Earlier in December, the central bank suspended the operations of Banco de Crédito SA after the arrest of a director on money laundering charges in the U.S. prompted an audit of the company.