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15 Biggest Latin American Banks

In this article, we will look at the 15 biggest Latin American banks. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to 5 Biggest Latin American Banks.

Economic Overview of Latin America 

Latin America experienced sluggish growth in 2023, with increasing inflation, turbulence in the global economic climate, and constricted financial policies slowing its growth. According to data by the International Monetary Fund, the region grew by 2.3% in 2023 and growth is projected to slow down to 2.0% in 2024. However, according to World Bank Economic Prospects data, Latin America and the Caribbean are anticipated to have a positive growth in 2024 and 2025. The region is expected to grow by a steady 2.3% in 2024 and by 2.5% in 2025. Economic growth in Brazil is expected to slow down by 1.5% in 2024, before picking up pace again in 2025 and increasing by 2.2%. On the other hand, Mexico is expected to grow at a 2.6% growth rate in 2024. This rate is expected to slow down to 2.1% in 2025. Estimates by the Global Economic Prospects also show that the Latin America and Caribbean region is expected to undergo a 0.3% change in its real GDP in 2024 as compared to its projections of June 2023. This number is expected to fall to -0.1% in 2025. Brazil's real GDP change is also projected to drop to 1.5% in 2024 from 3.1% in 2023.  You can also look at 20 Largest Banks in The World by Market Cap. 

Latin America’s Banking Sector: An Overview 

The banking sector in Latin America is expected to remain steady and resilient despite potential hiccups in the global banking system health. Profitability in Latin American banks has recovered from the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Liquidity buffers in the region are also positive, especially for Brazil, which has the most prominent banking system in Latin America. However, despite the positive outlook, the banking sector in the region is not above possible risk factors. It is expected that the region’s banks experience more than expected credit risk.

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According to data from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the total debt in the Latin America and Caribbean region increased to around $5.8 trillion, up from $3 trillion in 2008. This amount accounted for 117% of the region’s GDP. Similarly, public debt in the region also increased to 72% in 2020, up from 58% in 2019. This increase occurred primarily because of global economic recession, reduced revenues, and fiscal packages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Players in the Latin American Banking Sector 

Brazil takes the lead in the Latin American banking industry, with its banks ranking at the top in terms of assets. Mexico and Chile stand right behind Brazil in the industry. Banco Itaú Unibanco S.A. (BVMF:ITUB4) and BBVA México (BME:BBVA) rank among the most prominent financial institutions in Latin America.

Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, Banco Itaú Unibanco S.A. (BVMF:ITUB4) is considered the largest Brazilian institution. However, the bank operates in 18 countries across the globe and serves more than 55 million customers. Banco Itaú Unibanco S.A. (BVMF:ITUB4) also offers its customers of its investment platform specialized cryptocurrency trading services. On February 7, the bank announced its financial earnings for the fourth quarter of 2023. It reported its total earnings to be $9.4 billion in Q4, up by 4% from Q3. The bank also reported a growth of 3.3% in its net interest income (NII), touching the $23.2 billion mark in the revenue generation domain. Banco Itaú Unibanco S.A. (BVMF:ITUB4) also grew by 4.6% due to insurance operations results and fees commissions. Here is an excerpt from the earnings call:

"This growth was well-distributed across our product mix, volume, spreads and liabilities margin, and Latin America. We’ve isolated the effect of working capital, which starts the quarter at R$ 3 billion and ends at R$ 3.1 billion. The one month earnings of the operation in Argentina, which was recorded in the third quarter earnings, was also isolated. Thus, core growth was 3.3% quarter-over-quarter. Another piece of positive news was the expansion of the consolidated NIM from 8.9% in the third quarter to 9% in the fourth quarter. The risk-adjusted NIM also increased from 5.6% to 5.8% in this period. The risk-adjusted NIM of the Brazilian operation increased from 5.9% to 6.2% in the quarter, and the total NIM for Brazil reached 9.8%. I believe these are very positive messages for the financial margin with clients."

BBVA México (BME:BBVA) is another prominent player in the Latin American banking industry, and is the largest financial institution in Mexico with a 20% market share. The bank’s rapid digital transformation is one of the primary reasons behind an increase in its number of Mexican and Spanish customers. According to the bank, it is the first Mexican bank to integrate artificial intelligence with WhatsApp technology to bring to life virtual assistants that facilitate the institution’s communication with the public. Both customers and non-customers can use this facility and get immediate answers to questions about how to open an account, information related to branch locations, and tips on using its digital services. On March 5, the bank announced the expansion of its the BBVA Technology it created in late 2023 to Latin America in 2024. BBVA Technology en América will be headquartered in Brazil, and will provide tech-related services to BBVA companies in Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Now that we have looked at the Latin American banking sector, let us take a look at the 15 biggest Latin American Banks. You can also look at 25 Largest Banks in the US by Total Deposits and 25 Largest Banks in the World by Assets.

15 Biggest Latin American Banks 
15 Biggest Latin American Banks

Pixabay/Public Domain

Our Methodology 

In order to compile a list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks, we have considered total assets as the primary and sole metric. The data was derived from a report put together by S&P Global Market Intelligence. However, total assets for all banks are not available in the same time frame. For instance, some banks have the latest data from December 2022, while others have data from March 2023. The 15 biggest Latin American banks are arranged in ascending order of their total assets.

15 Biggest Latin American Banks 

15. Banco del Estado de Chile 

Total Assets: $67.20 billion 

Banco del Estado de Chile was founded in 1953 as the country’s Public Bank. It ranks 15th on our list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks, with total assets worth $67.20 billion as of December 31, 2022. The bank runs BancoEstado Servicios De Cobranza S.A, Red Global SA, and other institutions as its subsidiaries.

14. Banco de Chile (NYSE:BCH)

Total Assets: $69.36 billion 

Banco de Chile (NYSE:BCH) ranks 14th on our list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks. It has total assets worth $69.36 billion as of March 31, 2023. Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, the financial services company has more than 12,000 employees as of 2023, with Quiñenco as its parent organization. It runs Banchile Inversiones S.A., Artikos Chile S.A., and other institutions as its subsidiaries.

13. Bancolombia SA (NYSE:CIB)

Total Assets: $72.79 billion 

Bancolombia SA (NYSE:CIB) is a Colombia-based financial services provider with headquarters in Medellín. The bank has over 30,000 employees, and offers services in several Latin American countries. It also operates Banistmo, Banco Agricola, and Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala as its subsidiaries. Bancolombia SA (NYSE:CIB) has $72.79 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2022, ranking it 13th on our list.

12. Grupo Financiero Citibanamex SA de CV

Total Assets: $84.50 billion 

Grupo Financiero Citibanamex SA de CV is headquartered in Mexico. It is one of Mexico's biggest financial services companies, competing with Bancomer in the industry. It has $84.50 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2022, ranking it 12th on our list.

11. Banco BTG Pactual SA (BVMF:BPAC11)

Total Assets: $85.24 billion 

With total assets worth $85.24 billion as of December 31, 2022, Banco BTG Pactual SA (BVMF:BPAC11) ranks 11th on our list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks. The Brazilian financial institution is headquartered in São Paulo, in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. The bank falls under the umbrella of the parent company BTG Pactual Holding Financeira Ltda.

10. Banco Santander-Chile (NYSE:BSAC)

Total Assets: $87.74 billion 

Banco Santander-Chile (NYSE:BSAC) has total assets worth $87.74 billion as of March 31, 2023. The assets are up from $78.3 billion as of December 31, 2020. Headquartered in Chile, the financial institution holds a significant market share in the country’s banking industry.

9. Banco Santander México S.A Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Santa 

Total Assets: $92.97 billion 

Banco Santander México S.A Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Santa is a financial institution based in Mexico. It ranks ninth on our list with total assets worth $92.97 billion as of December 31, 2022.

8. Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (SNSE:BCI)

Total Assets: $98.10 billion 

Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (SNSE:BCI) is headquartered in Santiago, Chile, and ranks eighth on our list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks. It has total assets worth $98.10 billion as of March 31, 2023. Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (SNSE:BCI) runs the City National Bank of Florida as its subsidiary.

7. Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV (BMV:GFNORTEO)

Total Assets: $106.12 billion 

Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV (BMV:GFNORTEO) ranks seventh on our list of the 15 biggest Latin American banks. The bank has total assets worth $106.12 billion as of December 31, 2022.

6. Grupo Financiero BBVA México SA de CV (BME:BBVA)

Total Assets: $158.31 billion 

Grupo Financiero BBVA México SA de CV (BME:BBVA) is the largest bank in Mexico. The financial institution holds about 20% of the Mexican market, with its main stockholder being the Spanish bank BBVA. It has $158.31 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2022, ranking it sixth on our list.

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Disclosure: None. 15 Biggest Latin American Banks is published on Insider Monkey.