One of Portugal's biggest banks wants to enter the U.S. banking market by opening an office in New Jersey.
Banco Português de Investimento, also known as Banco BPI, is seeking regulatory approval to open a branch in Newark, according to state documents. BPI selected Newark because the city is home to one of the largest Portuguese communities in the United States. BPI already has a remittance office in Newark.
The Portugese government is seeking to boost technology, service and apparel exports to the United States, the bank said in its application, which was submitted on Nov. 16. The application is still under consideration by the New Jersey Division of Banking, an agency spokesman said. A Banco BPI representative could not be reached for comment.
BPI, based in Porto, is the fourth-largest bank in Portugal with $58.7 billion in assets. The bank also operates in Spain and other parts of Europe and Africa.
Some European banks have unloaded American assets due to the European debt crisis, including Greece's Pireaus Bank, which sold its Marathon Bank of New York to Investors Bancorp (ISBC) earlier this year. The debt crisis may force some European banks to raise billions of euros in capital, according to Bloomberg.
Banco BPI noted in its application that Portugal received bailout funds from the European Central Bank, and that the reforms required by the bailout are "on track."