------------------ ESP

BCRA Promotes the Opening of Bank Branches across the Country

In order to promote the financial system development and job creation in the sector, the Central Bank of Argentina eased the mechanisms to open bank branches through Communication A 5983.

This new regulation, which shall provide a more competitive framework, will eliminate the prior authorization mechanism to open brank branches the process of which could sometimes even take up to over a year. In turn, it established that such opening may be carried out through a set of objectives factors relative to solvency, liquidity, and minimum capital compliance, amongst others, to be complied with by financial institutions.

If these requirements are met, banks may open their branches. In addition, the BCRA ordered a reduction in requirements related to building issues that were considered before to set up bank branches in areas of the country with less population to favour the expansion of the financial system keeping a federal criterion in mind. Another relevant aspect of the regulation is the expansion in the use of mobile branches, such as those used in tourist centres during summer. To date, such possibility was restricted to public banks or private banks working as provincial financial agents.

According to this new regulation, all banks may operate mobile branches and offer bank services and access to an ATM on a temporary basis in places distant from urban centres. The BCRA also included the concept of automated dependence, which consists of a bank office that has ATMs and other means to access electronic channels together with bank personnel to provide advice to clients.

With these measures, the BCRA is promoting the development of the financial system across the country in a competitive setting, one of the key axes of its mandate. In addition, the monetary authority creates new sources of employment and facilitates access to bank services for segments of the population that do not have them at present.

June 9, 2016

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