Fitch: Andean Banks Well-Positioned to Meet Challenges in 2013

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<0> Fitch: Andean Banks Well-Positioned to Meet Challenges in 2013 </0>

<0> Fitch RatingsPedro El KhaouliSenior Director, +58 212 286 3356Avenida Francisco de Miranda Edificio Mene Grande II Piso 2Caracas, VenezuelaorDiego Alcazar, +1-212-908-0396DirectororTheresa Paiz-Fredel, +1-212-908-0534Senior DirectororMedia RelationsElizabeth Fogerty, +1-212-908-0526 (New York) </0>

Low credit penetration, relatively sound asset quality and funding ratios, adequate capitalization, and economic growth should mitigate risks from continued moderate loan growth across the Andean region in 2013, according to Fitch Ratings.

'Andean banks remain well-positioned to face the challenging external environment and volatile international financial markets,' says Theresa Paiz Fredel, Senior Director. 'Andean banks remain predominately deposit funded and have a limited reliance on international capital markets, trends that will continue in 2013.'

A favorable economic environment, expansion into new markets, a sound deposit base and access to capital markets support a stable outlook for the Colombian bank sector in 2013. Although large Colombian banks have strong financial profiles, vulnerable smaller players remain challenged by sub-par capital ratios.

The 2013 outlook for the Ecuadorian banking sector is also stable despite a weak operating environment and regulatory uncertainty. While recent regulatory changes will pressure profitability, Fitch expects profitability to sufficiently underpin capital growth in 2013.

The Peruvian banking sector's stable 2013 outlook is due to strong fundamentals and the system's expected resilience to the potential risks of rapid loan growth.

The Venezuelan banking sector has a negative outlook for 2013 in line with that of the sovereign. Despite the system's improving financial performance in 2012, Fitch expects a challenging economic environment next year, which combined with structurally weak efficiency and potential asset quality deterioration, will make it difficult to sustain high profitability.

For more information, a special report titled '2013 Outlook: Andean Banks' is available in both English and Spanish on the Fitch Ratings web site at .

Additional information is available at ''.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research: 2013 Outlook: Andean Banks

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