BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, China

CCB mulls to establish foothold in Brazil

The move to take advantage of China overtaking of the US to become Brazil’s largest trading partner.

China Construction Bank is in talks to buy a bank in Brazil amid plans to open a subsidiary in Latin America’s biggest economy, according to officials and people familiar with the matter.

The move comes as the leading Chinese banks are moving into Latin America to service rising trade with the region and to encourage South American exporters to begin trading in China’s currency, the renminbi, rather than the dollar.

John Weinshank, senior vice-president at CCB’s New York branch, told a banking conference in Miami that the executive board of the world’s second-largest lender by market value had approved a proposal to open a subsidiary in Brazil.

“We are following our customers,” Mr Weinshank told the annual conference of Felaban, the Latin American banking federation, adding that the proposal still needed the approval of regulators in both countries.

Separately, a person in São Paulo familiar with the matter said CCB had opened talks with the owners of a small Brazilian bank over a potential acquisition of the institution.

The person declined to name the target, but said entry into Brazil through an acquisition would provide CCB with the necessary licences and permits more easily than starting from scratch.

View the full story in the Financial Times

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