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Argentina lowers rate floor again; Banco C6 to enter corporate segment

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

High-level management changes

* BNP Paribas SA appointed Ricardo Guimarães country head for Brazil and CEO of Banco BNP Paribas Brasil SA, effective March 1. Guimarães replaces Sandrine Ferdane, who is taking up a new position at the French parent company.

* BMS Group Ltd. named Alejandro Ceron COO of BMS Latin America and Caribbean, effective immediately. Ceron was most recently CEO of a consulting firm he founded in 2016.

* Carlos Arias Alvarado resigned as chairman of Banco Popular y de Desarrollo Comunal SA, effective Jan. 20. Vice Chairman Raúl Espinoza Guido will chair the company's board on an interim basis.

Debt on offer

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA priced a $1 billion offering of senior notes due January 2023 at a fixed rate of 2.9% and a $500 million issuance of senior notes due January 2025 at a fixed rate of 3.25%.

* Fondo MIVIVIENDA SA announced an auction of seven-year bonds for up to 180.0 million Peruvian soles, expandable up to 250.0 million Peruvian soles.

* Banco BAC San José SA issued bonds worth up to 20 billion Costa Rican colones at an interest rate of 8.82% and a term of 1,800 days.

Growth and expansion

* Brazilian digital bank Banco C6 SA plans to enter the corporate lending segment by early February, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises that have annual revenues of 500 million Brazilian reais. Founding partner Luiz Marcelo Calicchio said the bank has long-term plans for an initial public offering but does not have a timeframe set.

* BNP Paribas SA obtained a banking license from Mexican banking and securities regulator CNBV, following years of operating as a multi-purpose financial company. The approval will allow BNP to expand its product offering and boost its presence in Mexico.

In other news

* Argentina's central bank lowered the floor for its benchmark Leliq interest rate to 50% from 52%, marking its fourth cut in less than a month. The decision came after official data showed inflation in the crisis-hit country reaching 53.8% in 2019, the highest level in almost three decades.

* Brazil's Banco BV is reportedly aiming to launch its initial public offering in April and will submit a formal IPO request to regulators in February. The bank expects to generate 5 billion reais through the listing.

* The stock exchanges of Chile, Peru and Colombia have commenced a feasibility study on a potential integration of infrastructure and services. The three entities have agreed to form a commission to monitor the initiative's progress.

Featured this week on Market Intelligence

* LatAm currencies led emerging market rebound to end 2019: Latin American currencies led a rebound of emerging market currencies in December 2019 amid an improvement in domestic political sentiment and global economic data, although the Argentine peso lost more than a third of its value against the dollar last year.

* Argentine banks brace for weaker profits as new government policies take hold: Profits at Argentine banks could be in for a beating as the country's new government starts lowering borrowing costs and restricts the amount of Leliq notes — one of the main earning drivers last year — banks can buy.

* In a down year for LatAm M&A, bank deals ticked higher in 2019: Deal activity in Latin America's banking sector in 2019 rose from the prior year even as overall M&A in the region was lackluster, with many of the bank transactions taking place in the region's largest economy.

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