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Profit and loss; strategizing

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Profit and loss; strategizing

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents the week's latest news and trends in Latin American banking.

Profit and loss

* Intercorp Financial Services Inc. saw a 37.6% year-over-year drop in its net income for the fourth quarter of 2017, reaching 241.2 million Peruvian soles.

* BBVA Banco Francés SA reported net income of 1.42 billion Argentine pesos for the fourth quarter of 2017, 144.0% higher than the year-ago period.

* Despite an economic slowdown in Chile, bank earnings in the country recovered in 2017 with consolidated net income rising 13.8% year over year, Fitch Ratings said.

Strategizing

* Grupo Financiero Interacciones SAB de CV seeks to build joint financial partnerships with Chinese companies, especially those in the banking and construction sectors.

* Banco Bancrea SA Institución de Banca Múltiple launched a leasing business in January and plans to continue expanding during the course of 2018.

* Spain-based Banco Santander SA plans to invest 20.0 billion Argentine pesos in its Argentine subsidiary, Banco Santander Río SA, in the span of three years as it looks to double its credit volume in the country during the same period.

* Banco Ahorro Famsa SA Institución de Banca Múltiple finalized the acquisition of Bankaool SA Institución de Banca Múltiple's passive operations portfolio, after the latter's closing of operations.

Credit prospects

* Loan demand from small and medium-sized enterprises and for mortgages in Mexico declined in the fourth quarter 2017, but demand for housing credit is expected to recover in the first quarter of 2018, according to a survey of local lenders by central bank Banco de México.

* Credit to Mexico's private sector will recover in the second half of 2018 after showing sluggishness last year, said BBVA Bancomer SA Chief Economist Carlos Serrano.

* Credit recovery in Brazil rose 0.3% in January from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis, and increased 4.2% from a year earlier, according to data from credit research firm Boa Vista SCPC.

* Banco de la Nación Argentina's loan portfolio grew 90% in 2017, helping the company boost its market share of private sector credit by 30%.

Staffing

* Argentine bank worker union La Bancaria confirmed a strike will take place Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, in a continued protest over the government's offers for inflation-tied salary adjustments of 9%.

* Banco Santander Chile has signed a new collective agreement with its 23 unions, which is valid for three years and benefits more than 10,300 employees.

Deal updates

* The pending merger between Interacciones and Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV will allow the combined entity to "be much more aggressive" in terms of lowering interest rates on loans to Mexican states and municipalities, said Interacciones CEO Carlos Rojo, Reuters reported.

* Scotiabank Chile aims to grow faster than the market in 2018 despite its acquisition of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA, said Scotiabank Chile's Vice President of Retail Banking Gonzalo Parral.

In other news

* Banco Agibank SA is reportedly planning to go public as it looks to raise funds for the acceleration of its expansion plans.

* A local Brazilian court slapped Banco Bradesco SA with an 800,000 Brazilian reais fine in collective moral damages for failing to implement ergonomic work conditions.

* Mexico's consumer protection commission Condusef said that banks no longer have abusive clauses in their contracts as of the end of 2017.

Featured this week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

* ChartWatch: Colombia's banking majors seen posting lower profits for FY'17: Three of Colombia's major banks are expected to report a decline in profitability for full year 2017, according to S&P Capital IQ mean estimates.

* Hires and Fires: A weekly rundown of executive management, board and other personnel moves at Latin American financial institutions.

* Ratings Roundup: A summary of various ratings actions on Latin American financial institutions and economies.