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Davivienda Q4'18 profit up 4%; BCRA rate hike to hurt banks, Moody's says

* Banco Davivienda SA reported net income of 374 billion Colombian pesos for the fourth quarter of 2018, up 4.0% yearly from 360 billion pesos. Financial expenses dropped slightly to 911 billion pesos during the period, from 919 billion pesos a year ago.

* Banco Central de la República Argentina's move to raise its benchmark interest rate to 62.1% between March 8 and 12 in an effort to stem currency depreciation is a credit negative for Argentine banks, Moody's said. Higher interest rates promote loan delinquencies, expand funding expenses and negatively impact economic activity and subsequently, banks' business projections. The recent rate increase could also reduce loan demand in the country, the rating agency noted.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Crédito Real SAB de CV Sociedad Financiera de Objeto Múltiple ER fully amortized its 2019 senior notes, which carry an interest rate of 7.50%, paying out about $134.9 million in settlement, including interest.

BRAZIL

* Banco do Brasil SA will issue a senior bond worth between $500 million and $750 million, Valor Econômico reported. The note will have a term of five years and an initial annual yield of about 5%, two sources told the publication.

* Brazilian digital lender C6 Bank will open a brokerage in New York after obtaining a license from the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. C6 Bank will initially offer corporate and sovereign fixed-income bonds to institutional clients in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. It then plans to delve into trading stocks, interest and currency contracts. Israel Colangelo, who joined C6 Bank in September 2018, will head the brokerage's operation, Valor Econômico reported.

* Roberto Campos Neto, who was sworn in as head of the Brazilian central bank in February, said he would open up the country more to foreign investors, lend more to small local enterprises, and strengthen financial technology firms' presence, Reuters reported.

* Caixa Econômica Federal will start to adopt technical criteria for all positions of trust at the bank, including at the management level, Valor Econômico reported, citing bank chief Pedro Guimarães.

* Brazil's TCU federal audit court acquitted the former directors of Banco Central do Brasil and the managers of the defunct bank FonteCindam of intervention in the foreign exchange market to bail out the bank during the financial crisis of 1999, Valor Econômico reported. This operation was justified by the "systemic risk" for the sector, the court said. A previous ruling ordered FonteCindam and its leaders to return 3.7 billion reais to the Treasury, among other penalties.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina-based Banco Hipotecario SA launched a cash purchase offer for up to US$75.0 million in aggregate principal amount of its outstanding 9.750% notes due 2020, expiring 11:59 p.m. ET on April 9. The company is offering noteholders US$965.00 for every US$1,000 principal amount of notes, plus accrued interest. Banco Hipotecario will also pay an early tender premium of US$30.00 for notes that are validly tendered at or prior to 5 p.m. ET on March 26.

* Short-term Leliq Treasury notes issued by Argentina's government have already accumulated to over 1 trillion pesos worth, Reuters reported. The central bank auctioned off about 200 billion pesos worth of Leliq notes on March 13 at an average interest rate of 63.328%.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Spanish banking giant Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA will unify all of the group's brands, which will see its foreign units removing non-BBVA references in their names, El País reported, citing sources from the bank. While Argentine unit BBVA Banco Francés SA has told the country's securities office of its plans to transition to the global BBVA brand, an executive at Mexican unit BBVA Bancomer SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer said the change could generate problems for the brand in the country.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: CBA suspends demerger plans; China hikes tolerance for micro companies' NPLs

* Middle East & Africa: Israel's First International Bank posts higher profit; Mashreqbank going digital

* Europe: Brextension' option; RBI shakes off Russia fears; profits rise at Pru, Generali

Pablo Jiménez Arandia 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.