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First Citizens to open Costa Rica branch

State bank First Citizens is expanding into Central America, with plans to open an office in Costa Rica soon.

"Within the next 90 to 100 days we should be looking to concretise that further," deputy chief executive Larry Nath said yesterday.

Nath spoke to the Express after the launch of the 2012 Trade and Investment Convention at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel, Port of Spain, yesterday.

He said the bank hoped to attract mainly corporate clients by working with multilateral agencies working in the region.

"Costa Rica has one of the more stable, robust economies in Central America. We looked at all the countries in the region but in Costa Rica there is greater possibility and niche for us to build a brand. Costa Rica offers long-term stability, an enabling environment and competitive landscape, with future growth opportunities," said Nath.

Nath also said First Citizens remained highly capitalised, with an increased capital base from 2010 to 2011 by five per cent from $4.9 billion to $5.1 billion. He said high liquidity in the system was not necessarily a bad thing because it showed the banking system was working.

"You don't want the reverse—which is a shortage of liquidity because of bad loans," he said. —CB

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