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Chairmen resign from BTG, Banco do Brasil; Banco Itapúa in merger talks

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Chairmen resign from BTG, Banco do Brasil; Banco Itapúa in merger talks

* Marcelo Kalim has stepped down as the chairman of BTG Pactual Group and Banco BTG Pactual SA. He will be replaced by current board member Nelson Jobim. Additionally, the bank announced the return of André Esteves, its founder and former CEO, to the company's controlling group of partners. Esteves was arrested in late 2015 as part of a corruption probe, but was cleared by a federal judge in 2018.

* Banco do Brasil SA announced the resignation of Chairman Fabrício da Soller, Reuters reported. Reinaldo Kazufumi Yokoyama also resigned as the bank's distribution director to take up a new position at insurance division BB Seguridade Participações SA.

* Paraguay's Banco Itapúa SAECA is in talks for a potential merger with financing company Rio, 5días reported, citing sources from both entities. The negotiations were stalled in late 2018 due to certain disagreements, but have since resumed.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* S&P Global Ratings revised Banco Agrícola SA's stand-alone credit profile to "bb-" from "b+," while affirming the El Salvador-based bank's long- and short-term issuer credit ratings at B- and B, respectively.

* S&P Global Ratings upgraded its sovereign credit ratings on El Salvador after the country's Congress approved a 2019 budget that includes new external debt to cover existing obligations. The rating agency said it lifted the Central American country's long- and short-term ratings to "B-/B" from "CCC+/C," with a stable outlook.

* BBVA Bancomer SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer aims to reach 8.5 million online banking clients in 2019, up from 7 million currently, El Economista reported, citing Hugo Nájera, the bank's director of business development.

* Mexico's central bank will launch a new tool in January allowing borrowers to compare the costs of credit products from different financial institutions, El Economista reported. Banks will be required to submit details of changes to the terms and conditions on loans to ensure that the database remains up to date.

* Mexico's S&P/BMV IPC main stock index fell 15.89% in the fourth quarter of 2018, its largest quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2001, Reuters reported. The fall came amid concerns over how the country's new government will handle the economy, as well as rising global trade tensions.

CARIBBEAN

* Banco Central de la República Dominicana held its monetary policy interest rate steady at 5.50%, saying that annual inflation is expected to end 2018 at 1.3%. The bank's forecast system indicates that inflation will gradually converge to its target range of between 3% and 5% over the next year.

* The Central Bank of Trinidad & Tobago maintained its monetary policy rate at 5.00%, saying that "domestic growth momentum appeared to have slackened in the third quarter while inflation remained very low."

BRAZIL

* Foreign investors have pulled nearly 11 billion reais out of Brazil's stock market in 2018, marking the largest outflow since the global financial crisis in 2008, Bloomberg News reported, citing data from the local stock market operator.

* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has submitted his nomination of Roberto Campos Neto as the central bank's new chief to the Senate for approval, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported.

* Banco do Brasil SA said it signed a third amendment to a rural credit agreement with Brazil's government, which will see the state-run bank receive about 1.65 billion reais, Reuters reported. The bank expects the deal to have a "residual impact" on its fourth-quarter 2018 results.

* Brazil's INSS national social security institution will start charging banks this year for operating costs related to direct payroll deduction loans granted to pensioners, Valor Econômico reported. The INSS was given the right to charge banks for these costs in 2003.

* BTG Pactual Group has obtained approval from Brazil's central bank to create a U.K.-based subsidiary called BTG Pactual (UK) Ltd., Valor Econômico reported. The new entity will have initial capital of £16 million.

* Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as Brazil's new president on Jan. 1, Reuters reported. In a speech following his inauguration, Bolsonaro said his election has freed the country from "socialism and political correctness."

ANDEAN

* Authorities in Colombia are probing a possible conspiracy to assassinate right-wing President Ivan Duque, who took office in August 2018, Reuters reported, citing Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

* Colombian financing company Serfinansa SA has obtained regulatory approval to operate as a bank, La República reported.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Ignacio Plaza, a director at Argentine futures exchange Rofex SA, said investors will "very quickly" see the benefits of the entity's recently approved merger with rival Mercado A Termino De Buenos Aires SA, or MATBA, El Cronista reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Sharjah boosts offer for Invest Bank; regulator weighs SABB-Alawwal Bank merger

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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