Citibank Regains 100% Ownership In Colombia's Banco Internacional

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Citibank bought 52% of the shares in Banco Internacional for $22.4 million, restoring its ownership to 100%, the Colombian bank said.

The sale was completed after negotiation between representatives of Citibank and of 89 Colombian shareholders, who owned 24.6 million shares.

Legal Barrier Was Lifted

Banco Internacional becomes the second Colombian bank to be completely foreign-owned, following the sale of the staterun Banco de los Trabajadores to Venezuela's Banco Mercantil last month.

Citibank owned all Banco Internacional shares until 1975, when the government issued a decree barring foreign companies from owning more than 49% of a bank operating in Colombia.

But a recent financial reform once again allows foreign investors to own 100%.

Significance Stressed

Gabriel Jaramillo, president of Banco Internacional, said Citibank's experience would enable the Colombian bank to innovate and to offer new services.

Banco Internacional has 26 branches, in seven Colombian cities.

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