* Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV CEO Marcos Ramirez Miguel said Mexican banks have reached a preliminary agreement on how to reduce the commissions they charge, Notimex reported. Details of the agreement could be announced at a banking convention at the end of this week.
* Argentina's central bank is considering extending the term on its Leliq notes to 30 days from seven days in a bid to raise the interest rate banks pay on fixed-term deposits, El Cronista reported.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Panamanian banks are moving closer to compliance with Basel III standards thanks to local regulators' efforts to increase capital and regulatory requirements, a development seen by Fitch Ratings as credit positive. Fitch also expects most banks, specifically the systemically important ones, to meet additional capital buffer requirements that are still being defined.
* Banco Nacional de Costa Rica received $236.6 million worth of tenders in its offer to buy back some of its 5.875% senior notes due 2021. The total exceeds the $150 million maximum the company set when it launched the tender offer.
* B3 SA - Brasil Bolsa Balcão said it reached an agreement to acquire 100% of Portal de Documentos SA, which provides digital solutions for banks in their vehicle and real estate lending operations. The total value of the acquisition may reach up to 175.0 million reais, depending on the achievement of financial and operational targets as well as other contractual conditions.
* Banco do Brasil SA CEO Rubem Novaes said the state-run bank would be more efficient and profitable if it were privatized, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported. However, he stressed that Brazil's government is not currently considering privatizing the bank.
* Caixa Econômica Federal President Pedro Guimarães said the bank will IPO its Caixa Seguridade Participações SA unit in September, followed by its card unit later in 2019 and its lottery and asset management businesses in the first four months of 2020, Valor Econômico reported. The state-run bank hopes to garner 15 billion reais from the offerings.
* Despite recently exercising a rights agreement to increase its ownership in Banco Pan SA, state-owned Caixa Econômica Federal still has longer-term plans to divest the stake, anonymous sources told Valor Econômico. Caixa plans to sell the stake after Banco Pan's share valuation improves.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social employees staged a protest on March 15, a day after prosecutors filed charges against 11 people over alleged irregularities in the bank's operations with meatpacker JBS, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported.
* BlackRock Inc. appointed Carlos Massaru Takahashi CEO for Brazil, Valor Econômico reported. Massaru Takahashi has been working as a senior management consultant since 2016.
* The number of Brazilians behind on their debts rose 1.78% year over year in February, marking the slowest rate of increase since December 2017, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing data from credit bureau service SPC Brasil.
* Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said President Nicolas Maduro is preparing for a "deep restructuring" of his administration, Reuters reported. Maduro has asked "the entire executive cabinet to put their roles up for review in a deep restructuring of the methods and functions of the Bolivarian government," Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.
* Juan Guaido, leader of the Venezuelan opposition, announced a "new phase" in his efforts to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office, Reuters reported. Guaido vowed to travel across Venezuela and reclaim the presidential palace.
* The Inter-American Development Bank has recognized Ricardo Hausmann as Venezuela's official representative to the multilateral institution, Agencia EFE reported. Hausmann was named representative by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who is trying to oust President Nicolás Maduro from office.
* Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA could end up paying a maximum fine in a legal case related to the scandal-plagued Ruta del Sol highway project, which would impact the company's attributable net income by some 220 billion Colombian pesos, CEO Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez said in an earnings conference call. Colombian authorities are investigating the company over purported anti-competitive practices and are also probing several employees, including Sarmiento Gutiérrez.
* Banco Central de la República Argentina plans to engage market makers to support its efforts to stabilize the peso currency, Reuters reported, citing two people with direct knowledge of the plans. "We are going to take advantage of the existence of this market auction to promote the creation of market makers in the FX market, something that does not exist now," one of the sources said.
* Argentina's central bank will reduce its monetary base by an additional 10% before the close of 2019 in a bid to tame inflation, Bloomberg News reported, citing central bank President Guido Sandleris. Annual inflation in February reached its fastest pace since President Mauricio Macri assumed office late in 2015.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: Crédit Agricole unit sells stake in Banque Saudi Fransi; 2 Kenyan banks to merge
* Europe: Deutsche, Commerz in tie-up talks; Rabobank sells unit; ING Italy in hot water
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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