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Scotiabank Chile open to deals; Banregio's Q4'16 profit up 45%

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Scotiabank Chile open to deals; Banregio's Q4'16 profit up 45%

* Scotiabank Chile is open to additional acquisitions to achieve its goal of increasing its market share in Chile to 10% from about 6.6% currently, Diario Financiero reported, citing CEO Francisco Sardón. "Through organic growth I think we can reach 8% [market share] in five years. We are open to possible acquisitions," the executive was quoted as saying. The company has created a new digital banking unit in Chile headed by Daniel Kennedy, vice president of digital banking.

* Banregio Grupo Financiero SAB de CV posted net income of 715 million Mexican pesos for the fourth quarter of 2016, up 45% from 493 million pesos in the year-ago period. The company's financial margin increased 21% year over year to reach about 1.41 billion pesos, while net commissions and fees jumped 20% to 138 million pesos.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Any policies implemented by the new U.S. government that obstruct production chains between the U.S. and Mexico would represent risks for Mexico's economic growth, Reuters reported, citing Banco de México Governor Agustin Carstens. Meanwhile, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview with El Universal that Mexico is prepared to counter any change in U.S. tax policy with a "mirror action."

* Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he will look to maintain free trade with Canada and the U.S. in negotiations with the new U.S. administration, but will also push for new bilateral trade agreements with other countries, Reuters reported. The president outlined 10 objectives for talks with the U.S., including the free flow of remittances from Mexican workers in the U.S.

* Republic Bank (Guyana) Ltd. said it officially opened its 12th branch at Triumph Village, East Coast Demerara in Guyana on Jan. 15. Banking at the new location started on Dec. 19, 2016.

BRAZIL

* Corporate credit demand in Brazil fell 2.2% in 2016 to reach its lowest level since 2013, according to credit research firm Serasa Experian. "Low working capital demand, in view of the [country's] deepening recession, reduced business confidence levels and still very high interest rates weighed negatively on the companies' credit demand in the previous year," the firm said.

* A group of hackers who stole data from 29,000 clients of Brazilian brokerage XP Investimentos in 2013 recently asked the company for 22.5 million reais to keep the data breach secret, Valor Econômico reported, citing documents related to the case. In a statement, XP said all client investments are safe and the firm is collaborating with authorities investigating the matter.

* The Brazilian government will not make any major change to its proposed pension reform since investors have already priced in the reform's approval in its present state, Bloomberg News reported, citing presidential chief of staff Eliseu Padilha. "The government cannot compromise without running the risk of undermining the reform," Padilha said in an interview.

* Rodrigo Montemor has resigned from his director position at Banco Pine SA, the bank said. Montemor had served as a director for corporate banking at the lender, according to Reuters.

* Brazilian banking federation Febraban is working on a project to create a single platform for the processing of utility bill payments, which will allow Brazilians to pay bills through any bank, Valor Econômico reported. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social said it has launched legal proceedings to collect about 219.6 million reais of debt from highway concessions operator Triunfo Participaçoes e Investimentos and unit Concer, Valor Econômico reported.

* The International Monetary Fund does not rule out the possibility of Brazil's recession continuing in 2017, Valor Econômico reported, citing Alejandro Werner, director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department. The IMF recently lowered its 2017 GDP growth forecast for the country by 30 basis points to 0.2%.

* A federal court in Brazil accepted a request from the public ministry to maintain a freeze on about 665.8 million reais worth of assets belonging to former Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social President Luciano Coutinho and others amid an investigation into suspected irregularities in the bank's loan granting, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her government is working to update its 2002 free-trade agreement with the European Union instead of focusing on a trade pact with a post-Brexit U.K., Blomberg News reported. "Brexit has a two-year time span," the president said. "There's time to see how we'll continue our relationship [with the U.K.]"

* Banco Supervielle SA is looking to position itself as the top lender to small and medium-sized enterprises in Argentina, El Cronista reported, citing Patricio Supervielle, the CEO of parent company Grupo Supervielle SA.

* Carlos Pavez, the head of Chilean securities and insurance regulator SVS, is among many candidates under consideration to lead the country's proposed Financial Markets Commission, or CMF, which will replace the SVS as Chile's top financial watchdog, La Tercera reported.

* Argentine Finance Minister Nicolás Dujovne said he expects the country's economy to expand more than 3% in 2017 as a result of economic reforms implemented by the government last year, La Nación reported.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Solvency II ratios excluding the benefit of transitional measures, which are due to be published for the first time later in 2017, will shed new light on insurers' exposure to low bond yields, Fitch Ratings said.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Mauritius PM passes baton to son; Ecobank loses deputy head

* Europe: Generali reacts to Intesa; Deutsche faces class-action; Brexit news expected

Matthew Craze 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.