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Itaú takes steps to boost LatAm reach

Itaú takes steps to boost LatAm reach

Itaú Unibanco has launched a new council led by a veteran executive to manage operations outside of Brazil, taking concrete steps toward its ambition to become ‘the Latin American bank.’

The $440 billion Brazilian bank created the LatAm Strategic Council to boost its efforts and visibility in the region, one of its key strategic priorities, the group said in a statement April 12.

Itaú, which already has a presence in nine Latin American countries, appointed executive vice president Ricardo Villela Marino to lead the commission.

The council would advise the chiefs of the firm’s businesses across Latin America and work with key clients in the region to bolster units such as private banking.

The firm said these initiatives are particularly relevant as the firm merges with Corpbanca in Chile and Colombia, a deal reached in 2014 that has allowed the group to boost its market share in both countries.

In its statement, the firm said it is aiming to replicate its success in Brazil in other Latin American countries by ‘exporting the best practices and establishing the necessary conditions to assume even more leadership positions in those countries.’

Cesar Blaquier, a partner of the group and the president of Itaú Argentina, took over Marino’s responsibilities running the bank’s operations in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, as well as managing a regional business product and support division.

Besides Latin America, Itaú has a presence in the US, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, according to its 2017 fourth quarter corporate presentation. It offers consumer and private banking, as well as institutional services and asset management. 

Itau’s merger with Corpbanca has brought major changes to divisions such as the firm’s Chile asset manager, which is on the cusp of hiring a chief investment officer as it works to consolidate its fund range.

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