Colombia’s financial regulator reported that banks in the country grew profits by 15% in the year to October. Lenders started the year strong—January profits were up 35% year-on-year—and have posted some equally impressive earnings in recent months.
The situation in Colombia is in stark contrast to neighbouring Venezuela. After seizing four banks and jailing their joint owner late last month, president Hugo Chávez told state television on Wednesday, “If I need to take over all the Venezuelan banks, I’ll do it.” The remaining privately-owned banks in the country should be “taking care,” he added, “because I’ve got my eye on them.” In the year to October, profits at banks in Venezuela fell by 2%. Given the current climate, this trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon.