Spain's Banco Santander plans to continue expanding in Latin America despite uncertainty about financial instability in Brazil.

"The bank has clearly decided that Latin America is one of its natural growth areas," Bloomberg News Service quoted Ricardo Mandelbaum, chief executive officer of Santander Investment Securities Inc. as saying.

Santander announced last week that it plans to merge with Banco Central Hispanoamericano, further strengthening its already large network of banks throughout Latin America.

Mr. Mandelbaum said problems in Brazil could slow economic growth in Latin America, but said he does not expect there will be any long-term consequences, even if overdue loans increase at banks in the short term.

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