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Wednesday, August 22 2018 @ 04:14 AM EDT

Panama's Bank Regulator Approves Continental, General Merger

Money Matters By Ken Parks for Dow Jones Newswires - Panama-based banking group Grupo Financiero Continental said Thursday the country's banking regulator has approved its merger with local rival Banco General. In a filing with the Panama stock exchange, Continental said the regulator has authorized the merger of the two banks under the umbrella of holding company BG Financial Group Inc. In early January, the controlling shareholders of the two banks said they would merge their operations into a publicly traded financial group. Continental will be folded into Banco General, creating the largest independent banking group in Central America with more than $7 billion in assets, $4.5 billion in loans and equity of about $800 million. Continental also brings to the marriage a network of representation offices in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Colombia. The merger will allow BG Financial Group to better compete against international banks like HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC), Citigroup (C) and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), which have expanded in Central America through a series of acquisitions in the last two years. -By Ken Parks, Dow Jones Newswires; ken.parks@dowjones.com
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