Scotiabank Open to Acquiring Banks in Mexico Amid Expansion Push

Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third-biggest lender by assets, is hiring 68 bankers in Mexico and will consider acquisitions in a push to increase market share in the Latin American country.

Mexico’s financial industry is poised for “a very significant process of consolidation,” Enrique Zorrilla, who took over as the bank’s top executive in Mexico in October, said in an interview. “We’re more than open to analyzing opportunities that strengthen our business plan.”

Scotiabank has spent about C$8.5 billion ($6.83 billion) on takeovers in the past five years, and Chief Executive Officer Brian Porter said last month that the Toronto-based bank plans to be acquisitive in Latin America. Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia have great potential for growth, partly because of expanding middle classes, Porter has said.

Zorrilla, 59, who joined Scotiabank in 2013 after 31 years at Citigroup Inc.’s Banamex unit, said the Mexican unit plans to increase overall loans by about 15 percent this year, with an emphasis on business lending.

In 2014, Scotiabank expanded its loans in Mexico by 14 percent to 178.6 billion pesos ($12 billion), according to regulatory data. At that level, it’s Mexico’s seventh-biggest bank by outstanding loans.

Scotiabank, which has about 13,000 employees in Mexico, has hired about 30 business bankers in the country so far this year and plans to add another 38 by the end of December, Zorrilla said. It added about 60 business bankers in 2014.

“With the help of this economic growth, we’d expect growth in our market share,” Zorrilla said.

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