Scotiabank intends to expand its domestic credit card business, despite record levels of household debt in Canada. It also wants to push retail operations in Latin America, a region where economic growth has been largely disappointing in recent years. Chief executive Brian Porter explains the rationale behind what may sound to some like a risky plan.
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Recent years have seen private banks hit by heavy regulation, fines and spiralling compliance costs, all of which have taken their toll on profits and brand value. As banking groups redefine their exposure to wealth management across the world, will private banking become a game better played by local and specialised names?
The Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo attracted the most FDI into its financial sector in Latin American and Caribbean cities in 2013, while Caracas in Venezuela was the surprise leader in the outflows table.
Lower growth in Latin America and a lack of reforms in areas such as education, infrastructure and taxation are not inviting propositions, but the region still shows some areas of great promise in 2014.
The tapering of the US Federal reserve's quantitative easing programme and a higher interest rates environment are mopping up liquidity from emerging markets, separating the top-in-class from the current-account-bingers. How does Latin America fare?
With the fastest growing economy in Latin America and the lowest rate of inflation, Colombia has a lot going for it. But foreign banks looking to enter the market are finding that opportunities are rare and competition is intense.
If the early 2000s were all about the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, now attention is shifting to the up-and-coming countries of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – the MINTs. And with rapid economic growth predicted, retail banks in these countries will be under enormous pressure to keep up.
Over the past two years banks have been hit by a huge wave of litigation relating to residential mortgages, interbank rates, consumer insurance and money laundering. Though lenders have largely managed to absorb the costs fairly easily, it seems that the regulators are not quite finished when it comes to dishing out fines.
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