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Regulatory road; banks in trouble

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

Regulatory road

* Chile's recently proposed regulations on provisions could dampen the availability of credit and force the banking sector to reserve an extra $500 million, local banking executives reportedly said, nearly twice the amount estimated by the country's banking superintendent, the SBIF.

* Mexico's central bank has launched a public consultation on new draft rules regarding the charges and exchange rates applied by credit and debit card issuers for foreign currency payments and withdrawals.

Banks in trouble

* Argentine courts started official bankruptcy proceedings for troubled lender Banco Finansur SA.

* Brazil's competition watchdog Cade will investigate five of the country's banks following a complaint by credit card financial technology firm Nubank that the banks are harming competition in the card-issuing market.

* Brazilian securities commission CVM is looking into possible irregularities in the selling of shares in telecommunications firm Oi in 2014 and is investigating the alleged involvement of several Brazilian banks.

Credit trends

* Total credit growth among Mexican banks and other financial institutions slowed to 2.3% during the third quarter of 2017 as higher interest rates and macroeconomic uncertainty took hold, data from the country's CNBV showed.

* Total credit to the private sector in Peru, which includes loans by banks, savings and loan cooperatives, and finance companies, was up 7.3% year on year for February, the Banco Central de Reserva del Perú said.

* Demand for consumer credit in Brazil fell 8.1% in February from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis but grew 8.0% compared with a year earlier, credit research firm Boa Vista SCPC said.

* Loan disbursements by Brazilian state-run bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social reached 6.85 billion Brazilian reais in the first two months of the year, 32% lower compared to the same period in 2017.

* Banco Ahorro Famsa SA Institución de Banca Múltiple in 2018 aims to increase its credit portfolio among small and medium-sized companies and fintech solutions to 3.50 billion Mexican pesos from 1.50 billion pesos presently, the lender's chairman, José Luis Ochoa Bautista, said.

In other news

* Banco do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul SA is looking into putting card payment unit Banrisul Cartões S.A. up for an initial public offering.

* South Korea's Hyundai Capital Services Inc. and Banco Santander (Brasil) SA will invest in an auto financing joint venture with a total paid-in capital of 33.30 billion won, industry sources said.

* Banco de Bogotá SA's profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 fell 25.2% from a year earlier to reach 409.7 billion Colombian pesos, as the bank's provision expenses shot 41.3% higher.

* Banco Itaú Argentina SA said it is being sued by a group of eight customers who filed a class-action lawsuit against the bank for alleged unjust operations regarding foreign currencies used by retirees and pensioners to carry out payments denominated in foreign currencies.

* The resignation of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski could likely affect the growth prospects of local banks in the short term, according to Valeria Azconegui, vice president-senior analyst for Moody's.

* Banco Mercantil del Norte SA Institución de Banca Múltiple's partnership with Amazon.com Inc. to launch a rechargeable debit card in Mexico is credit positive for the bank, according to Moody's.

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Bradesco SA together with U.S.-based Bank of America Corp. are working on a loan to a group of companies that may reach up to $6 billion.

* The board of Argentina's Banco Industrial SA approved the acquisition of reciprocal guarantee firm Garantía de Valores S.G.R.

Featured this week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

* Hires and Fires: A weekly rundown of executive management, board and other personnel moves at Latin American financial institutions.

* Ratings Roundup: A summary of various ratings actions on Latin American financial institutions and economies.