Scotiabank Agrees to Buy Citigroup’s Panama, Costa Rica Units

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-largest lender by assets, agreed to buy Citigroup Inc.’s banking operations in Panama and Costa Rica, the second deal between the two firms since December.

The purchase will add 27 branches and almost triple Scotiabank’s customers in the two countries to 387,000, the Toronto-based bank said Tuesday in a statement that didn’t include terms. It’ll also its increase market share of credit cards to about 18 percent in Panama and 15 percent in Costa Rica.

“This acquisition is in line with Scotiabank’s strategy to increase scale within its footprint and complements its operations in Panama and Costa Rica,” the bank said in the statement.

Scotiabank agreed in December to acquire Citigroup’s retail- and commercial-banking operations in Peru, a purchase that was completed in May and included eight branches and about 130,000 customers.

Citigroup was in talks to sell its retail businesses in Central America to Spain’s Banco Popular Espanol SA earlier this year. That sale would’ve included operations in Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, though talks broke off in March because it didn’t fit with the Madrid-based bank’s strategy.

Scotiabank operates in more than 55 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. The lender has targeted Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru as countries offering the best opportunities for growth.

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