NICARAGUA NEWS — Banco LAFISE Bancentro aims to be the first Nicaragua-based financial institution in South Florida. Nicaragua’s largest bank filed an application on Oct. 24 with Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to establish a representative office in Miami.

If approved, Banco LAFISE will join 17 other international banking institutions in the state, according to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

economia_1The Nicaragua-based bank has offices throughout Nicaragua including Managua. Representative offices are very restricted in activity and the proposed Banco LAFISE outpost in Miami will act primarily as a liaison between the bank’s head office and customers in the U.S. in addition to performing preliminary and servicing steps linked to loans. Back office functions will also be possible at the Miami office.

The representative office will not include contracting for any deposit or deposit-related activities and will not lend money.

In a Dec. 31, 2013 presentation included in the bank’s application to the Federal Reserve Bank, Banco LAFISE claimed 236,237 customers, 1,488 employees, and 80 branches. In that year, Banco LAFISE oversaw $1.45 billion in assets, $1.08 billion in deposits, and $835 million in its gross loan portfolio.

In 2013, the bank reported a net income of $27.4 million, reflecting just over a 17 percent increase compared to 2012.

The bank is a subsidiary of LAFISE Group Panama, Inc., a corporation in the Republic of Panama. Roberto Zamora, president of the bank, has a 98.96 percent stake in LAFISE Group Panama, Inc.

LAFISE also has bank operations in Costa Rica and Honduras.