Latin America's buoyant economies are attracting a slew of foreign institutions, with banks from within Latin America itself and from further afield establishing substantial networks across the continent. Unsurprisingly, the largest foreign-owned subsidiary presence is in Brazil, but the large domestic market has quelled Brazilian banks' ambitions elsewhere and it is Colombian lenders that are forging ahead with cross-border acquisitions.
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Indonesia's banks suffered heavy setbacks during the 1998 Asian financial crisis, but in the 20 years since, the country's recovery has seen its banking sector outperform the rest of the Association of South-east Asian Nations region.
The gap between New York in first place and London in second has widened in The Banker's IFC rankings, while Amsterdam and Chicago show the greatest improvement on the 2011 list.
Beijing boasts the highest levels of asset values for IFCs among local players, but it is Hong Kong that ranks top in volumes of foreign-owned subsidiaries' assets, and it remains the go-to Asian financial centre for foreign businesses.
Growing public debt, falling GDP rates and rising unemployment are casting a shadow over the Caribbean region. Banks are responding by raising capital and many are still delivering good returns.
Staff expenses are the largest single component of most banks' operating expenses and provide a good indication of the efficiency of each bank's business model. The Banker has tracked down the countries with the lowest and highest staff costs to discover where the most and least productive bankers are based.
Out of the top five international financial centres with the largest aggregate volume of bank assets, a mix of European, Asian and North American centres occupy the top places in both the ranking that considers bank holdings incorporated in a certain jurisdiction, and the one of foreign-owned subsidiaries operating in the centre.
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