Surveying the corporate merger scene in Latin America, a question must be raised: Why haven't more U.S. banks gotten in on the action?

After all, U.S.-based manufacturers and service companies haven't been shy. Five of the top nine M&A deals completed by foreigners in Latin America in 1996 involved U.S. buyers. However, only five of the 36 bank acquisitions completed in 1996 and the first half of 1997 were made by U.S. banking companies, and only three of these five U.S. acquirers were commercial bank affiliates.

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