Gearing up to do battle with U.S. banks in Latin America, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, one of Spain's largest banks, has applied to the Fed to open a section 20 securities unit.

Banco Bilbao, or BBV as the bank is known, recently acquired Latinvest, a Latin American investment bank partly owned by Mexico's InverMexico. It is now seeking to turn New York-based BBV Latinvest into its section 20 unit to underwrite both debt and equity.

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