MADRID – Banco Pichincha, Ecuador’s largest, announced Wednesday that it will become the first Latin American commercial bank in Spain after clearing a final regulatory hurdle.
The main subsidiary of Grupo Financiero Pichincha, which operates in Peru, Panama, Colombia and the United States, the bank has 1.8 million customers in Ecuador, $4.5 billion in assets and $4 billion worth of deposits.
Assignment of a registration number from Spain’s central bank was the bank’s last requirement for operating in the country, having earlier received authorization from the Economy Ministry.
The bank will launch in two stages, first in Madrid beginning in May and then in Barcelona, Valencia, Murcia and Alicante in June, offering traditional bank services: checking accounts and savings and loan products.
Pichincha first arrived in Spain in 2007, operating a network of nine customer-service centers mainly focused on attending to the more than 750,000 Ecuadorians who live in different parts of the Iberian nation, according to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Madrid.
By setting itself up as a commercial bank, Pichincha is looking to position itself as the first global bank for Latin American migrants, not only from Ecuador but also the other Andean countries – Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile and Venezuela.
It also plans to launch a call center and embark on an ambitious expansion plan that will involve opening 20 new branches in four years.
Banco Pichincha has a AAA- rating, the highest awarded by credit rating agency Pacific Credit Rating to a Latin American bank. EFE