Mizuho Bank, Ltd. (President & CEO: Koji Fujiwara, hereinafter "MHBK") signed a memorandum of understanding for business cooperation (hereinafter "MOU") with Itau CorpBanca Colombia S.A. (hereinafter "Itau Colombia"), a major private commercial bank in the Republic of Colombia, on February 28th, 2018. MHBK is the first Japanese bank to sign such an agreement with Itau Colombia.
Itau Colombia is part of the Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. (hereinafter "Itau Unibanco"), the largest private financial institution in Brazil. It has an extensive network in Colombia (175 locations as of September 2017) and maintains the top share in the country in project finance. MHBK has maintained business cooperation with the Itau Unibanco in Brazil since 2009.
Colombia is one of the major economies in Latin America, following Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in size. The peace agreement signed in 2016 between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia is expected to stimulate the economic growth further going forward. In terms of bilateral economic relations, Japan and Colombia agreed in principle on the terms of a tax treaty in December 2016 and have been in negotiations for an economic partnership agreement (EPA), which is expected to attract more direct investment from Japan.
This MOU is intended to provide enhanced services to companies seeking to enter or expand business in Colombia. Specifically, we will work with Itau Colombia to provide our clients with local economic information and a range of financial services, including local currency transactions, such as trade finance, lease finance, and project finance.
Mizuho has been expanding business in Latin America, having opened Banco Mizuho do Brasil S.A. in July 2013, Santiago Representative Office (Chile) in September 2014, and Mizuho Bank Mexico, S.A. in March 2017. We will continue to serve the diverse needs of companies expanding business in the region and thereby contribute to the development of the local economy.