B of A Mulls Mexican Banking Business

Bloomberg News

BankAmerica Corp. said it is considering entering Mexico's retail banking business, which is picking up after being hammered by a 1994 currency devaluation and subsequent recession. "Bank of America has said it's certainly interested in looking at the possibility of a retail presence down there," said spokeswoman Sharon Tucker. "We're considering our options, and it's likely we'll come to some decision before year end." She declined to comment or deny a Mexican news report that its Bank of America unit is negotiating to buy a $200-million stake in Grupo Financiero Bancrecer. Such a move would follow investments by banks such as Citicorp, Scotiabanc Inc. and Banco Santander into Mexico. Bancrecer said in late February that it would sell a controlling stake worth $300 million to foreign banks. German insurer Allianz has pledged to buy a $100-million share. J.P. Morgan & Co. was hired to help search for a second foreign bank to invest the other $200 million.

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