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Number crunching; deal buzz

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

Number crunching

* The number of judicial recovery requests in Brazil declined by 21.3% year over year to 322 incidences in the first quarter of 2017.

* For the third month in a row, savings withdrawals outdid deposits in Brazil for March, with the negative balance amounted to about 5.00 billion Brazilian reais.

* Credit growth to Argentina's private sector was slower in March, with lending in pesos expanding by 1.4% in nominal terms.

* Brazil's consumer delinquency rates fell 0.7% in February compared to January and declined by 3.5% compared to the year-ago period.

Deal buzz

* Mexico's banking and securities commission CNBV approved Grupo Bursamétrica's purchase of Casa de Bolsa Dumbarton from Investa Bank SA Institución de Banca Múltiple.

* Sociedad Anónima Importadora y Exportadora de la Patagonia accepted an offer to purchase Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SA's entire stake in Tarjetas del Mar SA, representing 58.8% of the total shares.

* Banco Santander Río SA said it completed its acquisition of the assets and liabilities of Citibank NA - Sucursal establecida en la República Argentina.

* Qatar Investment Authority sold a roughly 2.5% stake in Banco Santander (Brasil) SA, pricing both an offering of 80 million units as well as an overallotment option for up to an additional 12.0 million units at 25 reais per unit.

* Three banks are moving on to the final phase, which will involve binding offers, for the purchase of Banco Patagonia SA as the Argentine bank's owner, Banco do Brasil SA, took in nonbinding bids of more than $1.35 billion.

* Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana S.A. will increase its total ownership in its Sura Asset Management SA unit after striking a $383.2 million deal to acquire stakes held by the International Finance Corp. and IFC ALAC Spain SL.

* Grupo Supervielle SA and unit Banco Supervielle SA transferred all of their shares in microfinance firm Cordial Microfinanzas SA to Ciudad Microempresas SA under an agreement reached in March.

Bank woes

* Costa Rica's financial entity regulator Sugef approved troubled state-owned Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago's restructuring plan.

* The court of Brazil's antitrust regulator Cade approved two agreements, known as TCCs, with Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and its subsidiaries, Rede and Hipercard, regarding investigations of the companies' anticompetitive practices in the electronic payment market.

* Banco Bradesco SA received a subpoena from the general internal affairs of Brazil's ministry of finance as part of the so-called "Operação Zelotes" tax and bribery case.

* Banco de Crédito del Perú and Mibanco Banco de la Microempresa SA's loan customers located in El Niño-affected areas "could experience some repayment difficulties in the coming months," although the impact is not expected to be material, parent company Credicorp Ltd. said.

In other news

* Caixa Econômica Federal said it plans to approve 5,000 adhesions to its voluntary retirement program by the end of April.

* A bankruptcy law reform recently proposed by Brazil's government could enhance the legal framework for local credit, which would provide more support to banks and their loan growth, Fitch Ratings said.

* Mexico's Banco del Bajío S.A. has filed a request on the local stock exchange, BMV, for a public offering of shares, according to a notice on the CNBV's website.

Featured this week on S&P Global Market Intelligence

* As uncertainty looms, LatAm heads see regional integration as key: In a year characterized by hopes of a return to economic growth in Argentina and other countries in the region, the opening on April 6 of the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Buenos Aires was ironically disrupted by a general worker's strike which paralyzed the city, perhaps a metaphor of mixed signals in the current climate.

* Debt piles, fiscal adjustment issues driving LatAm sovereign rating actions: Rating agencies took a more negative view on several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean during the first quarter, largely driven by growing government debt and a lack of political will to undertake fiscal adjustment.

* Latin American sovereign CDS spreads continue steady downward trend: Latin American sovereign credit default swaps continued an overall downward trend in early 2017, a period characterized by optimism for a return to economic growth, SNL Financial data shows.

* LatAm banks post collective gains in Q1 as tensions ease: Latin American bank indexes collectively performed better during the first quarter of 2017 as compared to their overall showing in 2016, with Brazil broadly leading the pack.

* Best of the Web: Buenos Aires strives to become a leading financial hub; Japanese investors are drawn to Brazil's investment roller coaster; and tweets from President Trump influence policy at Mexico's central bank.

* 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.