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Colombian billionaire's group plans to open digital bank

The group of Colombian business magnate Jaime Gilinski has filed for an application before local regulators to open a new bank called Lulo Bank, La República reported.

Gilinski's Gilex Holding SARL is developing the wholly digital bank, which is expected to be launched in the first half of 2020, the report said. Lulo Bank will operate independently from Banco GNB Sudameris SA, another lender under Gilex Holding.

Lulo Bank will have an initial capital of 100.00 billion Colombian pesos and will be led by Benjamín Gilinski, one of Jaime Gilinski's children, a source familiar with the plan told the publication. The digital bank will initially offer consumer products, including credit cards with no commissions.

Lulo Bank plans to later provide mortgage loans and services for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The bank aims to have 1 million customers after three years of operations.

Colombian banking regulator has already authorized the notice of intent to establish the bank, which is the first stage of the approval process, La República said.

The Gilinski group has made several M&A deals in the financial sector over the past months, including the purchase of stakes in BBVA Paraguay SA, FirstCaribbean International Bank Ltd. and London-based Metro Bank PLC.

As of Dec. 6, US$1 was equivalent to 3,434.30 Colombian pesos.