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Supervielle, Banco Macro Q4'17 profits jump; ex-Caixa VP acquitted

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Supervielle, Banco Macro Q4'17 profits jump; ex-Caixa VP acquitted

* Grupo Supervielle SA posted net income of 851.4 million Argentine pesos for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 60.0% year over year from 532.3 million pesos. Net service fee income grew 33.1% annually to 955.1 million pesos while income from insurance activities was up to 148.3 million pesos, from 129.9 million pesos a year earlier.

* Banco Macro SA recorded a 78% jump to 3.01 billion Argentine pesos in its fourth-quarter profit for 2017, amid a 45% annual jump in net financial income to 7.04 billion pesos. This was despite provisions for loan losses growing to 422.3 million pesos in the quarter, from 354.0 million pesos in the year-ago period. Administrative expenses also grew to 3.66 billion pesos from 2.81 billion pesos a year earlier.

* Former Caixa Econômica Federal Vice President Deusdina dos Reis Pereira has been acquitted of influence trafficking due to insufficient evidence, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported. The former executive allegedly tried to negotiate a state position in exchange for releasing credit. She was one of four vice presidents removed from the state-owned bank over various irregularities.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Mexico-based private equity fund Nexxus Capital, S.C. is planning to invest $350 million over the next 12 to 18 months in small and medium-sized enterprises
in the country, as well as in Spain and Portugal, saying there is a lack of private equity in the latter two countries, Reuters reported.

* Former central bank official and World Bank consultant Alejandrina Salcedo Cisneros has been appointed chief economist at Mexico's Finance Ministry, becoming the first woman to hold the position, El Economista reported.

* Claims linked to the two earthquakes that hit Mexico in September 2017 will cost the insurance industry about 25.16 billion Mexican pesos, El Economista reported, citing Recaredo Arias, director general of the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions. He said nearly 43,000 claims had been received by Jan. 31, 2018.

* Scotiabank de Costa Rica SA will focus on completing the integration of Citigroup Inc.'s retail banking business under its new manager Diego Masola, who will also serve as Bank of Nova Scotia's senior vice president for Central America, El Financiero reported.

BRAZIL

* The number of Brazilians seeking credit in January rose 5.3% from December 2017 and jumped 20.3% year-on-year due to lower interest rates, an improved job market and lower loans default rates, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing credit research firm Serasa Experian.

* The Brazilian central bank's economic activity index registered a 1.41% increase in December 2017 from the previous month, compared to a growth forecast of 1.1% made by economists, Reuters reported. Economic activity for 2017 was up 1.04% compared to 2016. Zeina Latif, chief economist for XP Investimentos SA, also said that there is optimism over Brazil's inflation prospects this year, with little change expected in the local currency and a quiet outlook for global inflation, Bloomberg News reported.

* Next, the digital banking arm of Banco Bradesco SA, has launched a free current account that includes a fee-free international credit card and perks for university students, Valor Econômico reported. Next was launched in October 2017 and has more than 34,000 account holders.

* Brazil's Banco Agibank SA, which was formerly called Banco Agiplan, posted a net profit of 127.8 million reais in 2017, up 19.6% from the previous year as the bank shifted focus to digital operations aimed at individual customers, Valor Econômico reported. Financial intermediation revenues jumped 74.4% year over year. The bank is reportedly planning to go public to raise funds for its expansion.

ANDEAN

* The Peruvian government could shut down troubled development bank Banco Agropecuario after all, despite previous comments about restructuring the bank, Gestión reported, citing financial sector sources. In the meantime, the government would reportedly create a new emergency fund with 100.0 million Peruvian soles to continue extending loans to small and medium-sized farming enterprises.

* Hefty loan loss provisions took their toll on the profits of Colombian banks in 2017 even as the financial system's overall assets rose to 1.57 trillion Colombian pesos in December 2017, La República reported, citing data from the financial superintendent. It said only eight out of 24 banks reported a higher net profit compared with 2016. The Asobancaria industry group said rising default rates explained the downturn, but forecast an improvement from July of this year.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina's Banco Industrial SA has approved the sale of 24,864 shares, representing a 5% stake in Industrial Asset Management Sociedad Gerente de Fondos Comunes de Inversión SA and 184,000 shares, represented by a 6.79% stake in Industrial Valores SA to Grupo Bind SA, according to a regulatory filing.

* Shareholders of Argentina's John Deere Credit Compañía Financiera SA approved an expansion of the company's global bond program by 2.70 billion Argentine pesos, bringing its maximum amount to 6.20 billion pesos. John Deere Credit Compañía Financiera's board had argued capital markets were the "best current financing tool" for the company.

* Jorge Pablo Brito, a director at Banco Macro SA, looks set to stay on as president of Argentina's Adeba banking industry association due to a lack of candidates to replace him, El Cronista reported. The newspaper said that Brito had told fellow bankers he would likely remain in the position for a few more years despite wanting to step aside.

* Enrique Marshall, president of Banco del Estado de Chile, told La Tercera in an interview that the bank's corporate governance should be reformed to bring it into line with privately-owned competitors. He called for a reassessment of the current system of appointments, which sees the president name senior executives every four years to foster greater continuity.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Saudi cabinet approves bankruptcy law; Capitec Bank 'back to normal'

* Europe: Spain's De Guindos set to take key ECB post; HSBC FY'17 profit up on Asia growth

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8:00 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription.