* Mexico's Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer SA de CV posted second-quarter net profit of 13.22 billion pesos, up 16.2% from 11.38 billion pesos in the year-ago period. The banking group's financial income was 31.82 billion pesos during the quarter, up 7.5% year over year from about 29.61 billion pesos.
* The Colombian central bank maintained its benchmark interest rate at 4.25% on July 27, citing July inflation growing by 3.2%. Analysts expect inflation will be at 3.37% and 3.33% for December 2018 and 2019, respectively, above the 3.0% target.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA is confident about growth in Mexico as political headwinds dissipate, and the Spanish lender is now expecting double-digit net profit growth at its Mexican operations in 2018. "The lower growth we had seen in the first few months of the year picked up a bit in May and June," CEO Carlos Torres Vila told analysts following publication of the lender's second-quarter results. Mexico accounted for 28% of the bank's gross income in the first half.
* Mexico's central bank has asked banks and other financial institutions to boost their security measures for operations involving virtual currencies as part of wider efforts to reduce the risk of cyberattacks, El Financiero reported. It asked banks to provide more information about cryptocurrency transactions. Meanwhile, the CNBV's new head of cybersecurity, Luis Arias Osoyo, told El Economista that his priority was ensuring institutions were properly prepared to avert such attacks.
* The default rate for Brazil's financial sector dropped to 3.1% in June, after remaining stable for three months at 3.3%, according to data released by Brazil's central bank. Total bank lending in the country increased 0.7% in June from the previous month to reach 3.13 trillion reais, growing 1.2% so far in 2018.
* Banco Bradesco SA expects its overall credit portfolio to strengthen further in 2019 after the default rate dipped to its lowest level since 2015 in the second quarter, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing investor relations director Carlos Firetti. He said the corporate segment would help reduce the default rate next year. Bradesco's loan default rate was 3.92% in the second quarter compared with 4.9% a year earlier, its lowest level since June 2015 when the rate was 3.8%.
* More Brazilian consumers are borrowing to pay other debts or to finance day-to-day spending as the economy and labor market struggle to make a robust recovery, Valor Econômico reported, citing economics professor Otto Nogami.
* The Peruvian central bank will raise the ceiling on foreign investments in local pension funds to 49.5% effective August, and up to 50% in September, Reuters reported. Raising the limit from the 49% at present should free up $480 million for the funds for investment in global market instruments, the central bank noted.
* The Inter-American Development Bank will contribute $100 million in financing towards a rural water and sanitation project in Peru being carried out by the country's housing and construction ministry, El Comercio reported, citing the Finance Ministry.
* Two Colombian senators have presented draft legislation to overhaul credit risk reporting services such as Datacrédito and Cifin, Portafolio reported. The bill includes proposals to let people consult their financial and credit information free of charge and a six-month amnesty for the payment of debts before incurring a negative credit report.
* Chilean insurer Zurich Santander Seguros Generales Chile S.A. named Roger Mogrovejo Moron as investment manager, according to a regulatory filing.
* Fitch Ratings rectified an error in a criterion of Chile's short-term local currency issuer default rating, which had led to an incorrect downgrade of that rating to F1 from F1+. As a correction, Fitch upgraded Chile's short-term local currency rating to F1+ from F1.
* Moody's downgraded the senior unsecured debt and deposit ratings of Banco de Chile, Banco del Estado de Chile, Banco Santander Chile, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA, and Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA, while revising their outlooks to stable from negative, following a downgrade of Chile's sovereign rating to A1 from Aa3.
* Chile's SBIF banking industry regulator said it was investigating a new leak of data from more than 50,000 credit and debit cards, most of which were inactive and issued abroad, Diario Financiero reported. The authority said the cards that were still in use had already been cancelled by their issuing banks. Earlier, the regulator reported that the information on 14,000 credit cards, most of them inactive, leaked via Twitter.
* Chile's Said Somavía and Said Handal families have opted to secure a 24.2% stake in Scotiabank Chile following its merger with Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile, La Tercera reported, citing sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations. The sale agreement would have allowed them to buy up to 25% of the merged bank. The newspaper said José Said was set to become chairman, with Salvador Said Somavía, Jaime Said Handal and Gonzalo Said Handal in line for director positions.
* Chile's BICECORP S.A. posted second-quarter profit of 21.94 billion pesos, down from 25.52 billion pesos in the year-ago period. Administrative expenses rose to 40.51 billion pesos from 35.76 billion pesos last year.
* Argentina's Prisma Medios de Pago SA has rejected the only takeover offer it received as part of a government-ordered divestment and has requested more time to secure a sale, El Cronista reported. It said the company, which is owned by 14 Argentine banks and Visa International, has rejected a joint $1.2 billion offer from U.S. private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital. It said Prisma's owners wanted to sell it for about $2 billion. They must sell at least 51% of the company by September this year under a deal reached with competition authorities.
* Argentina's Banco Patagonia SA said it had sold 270 million pesos in a fund composed of loans granted to sellers in the e-commerce platform MercadoLibre, describing the operation as a first in the local capital market, El Cronista reported. Demand for the issue was 494.5 million pesos and the paper will pay 40.98% annually.
* Banco de Chile posted net income of 305.21 billion Chilean pesos for the first half of 2018, slightly up from 299.81 billion pesos in the first half of the previous year. Net interest income was up to 647.53 billion pesos, from 627.02 billion pesos. Total operating expenses also grew to 415.88 billion pesos, from 389.60 billion pesos.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: ICICI Bank Q1 profit down; 2 Japan banks to merge; Samsung Securities CEO leaves
* Middle East & Africa: Leumi to sell credit card unit to Warburg Pincus; Moody's downgrades Zambia
* Europe: Deutsche cuts London clearing ops; StanChart extends US sanctions scrutiny
* Global Markets: Bonds fall ahead of central bank moves; tech weakness weighs on stocks
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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