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That was quick. After less than a month in administration, three of the banks seized by the Venezuelan government late last month will reopen as units of Banco Bicentenario, a new state-run lender.

The new bank, which also includes the state’s Banfoandes, aims to bring to a close a recent string of seizures and closures, featuring eight mostly small lenders, a broker and an insurer. President Hugo Chávez will try to spin recent events as decisive actions to preserve confidence in the country’s banks. But none of the constituent parts of the new Banco Bicentenario are in particularly good shape, so the move is unlikely to stabilise an increasingly fragile financial system.

Read more at Financial Services Briefing: “Under new management” (December 15th)