San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

HSBC Buys Banco Banex

British financial giant HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world, officially began operating here last week with high hopes of expanding into the entire Central American region.

The bank purchased Grupo Banistmo, owner of Banco Banex, for $1.7 billion. As of July 23, the Banex brand disappeared and was replaced by the HSBC logo.

HSBC Costa Rican general manager Sergio Ruiz said during a July 26 press conference that the London-based bank “came to Costa Rica to stay” and has “a long-term strategy to attract clients from all    sectors of the market with diverse and new products.”

HSBC hopes to expand by opening at least 100 new branches all over the country and add more employees to the 1,200 it inherited from Banex. These workers will be trained in HSBC’s high standards of customer service, said HSBC operations manager David Duncan.

Expanding throughout Central America and the Caribbean is key for the bank’s growth since the region’s economy offers “many more possibilities to financial service firms,” than mature markets such as Europe, Asia and North America, said the HSBC assistant director of Central America and the Caribbean.

HSBC has more than 10,000 branches in 82 countries and almost 125 million clients.


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