Foreign Banks Terminate Operations in Argentina

Published 31 March 2010

As from April 1, 2010, sixteen (16) representative offices of foreign banks terminated their operations in Argentina. The decision made by these banks was triggered by Communication “A” No. 4,981 of the Central Bank of Argentina, dated October 2009 (the "Communication"). The Communication set forth more stringent requirements for the activity of representative offices of foreign banks.

The Communication, issued while Mr. Martín Redrado was in office, provided that as from April 1, 2010 representative offices of foreign banks would have to comply with more stringent requirements than before for the purposes of “adding more transparency to the activity of representative offices, making control over their performance more easy”.

Among the amendments implemented by the Communication, representative offices will have to keep public records of all the transactions in which the representative office has partaken.

One of the main reasons for the more stringent control implemented by the Central Bank, is the intention of the Federal Government to prevent capital flight, bearing in mind that representative offices are potential channels for such purpose.

Besides, other amendment introduced by the Communication is the requirement that the entities waive their head offices’ bank secrecy, which was the main reason why foreign banks decided to close their doors in Argentina.

As a result of the amendments introduced by the Communication, said foreign banks decided to leave the Argentine market: some have left the region, while others will continue operating from other countries in Latin America.