Investing in Colombia?

Colombia has much to offer investors, but the importance of gaining local understanding through partnerships with regional banks cannot be understated.

Image credit: Shutterstock / vkilikov

Regional banks in Latin America leverage their presence across multiple countries to help investors enter new markets.

Agility and an understanding of how business is done in a number of neighboring countries allow for greater possibilities and the development of economies of scale.

Colombia has a long history of prudent fiscal policymaking. This fact, combined with the country’s dynamic exchange rate and relatively stable macroeconomic foundations, make it an ideal target for overseas investors.

Naturally, however, there are still challenges. A recent rise in inflation and drop in GDP growth mean that it pays off to develop local and regional connections before any decision to invest.

And there are no better partners for those interested in investing in the Colombia than regional banks in Latin America.

It is often claimed that banking is an oversaturated business with a high degree of organizational inertia, where innovation and rapid expansion is tough. But there are examples from recent years in the Latin American market which defy these ideas about banking.

Itaú Colombia can be an excellent case study in this regard, as it has achieved several milestones in a new market in a short space of time, while redefining some of the rules of the game.

Itaú Colombia was born after a merger between the Brazilian mega bank, Itaú, and a Chilean bank with branches in Colombia. Since 2017 these branches have been operating under the Itaú brand, quickly acquiring and localizing Itaú’s organizational DNA and company culture.

Headquartered in São Paulo, the Brazilian parent bank, Banco Itaú S.A, is the largest private financier in Latin America with activities across three continents. The bank has accumulated a significant level of financial knowhow and technology since its inception in 2008, which are now being transferred to Itaú Colombia.

Itaú has been successful in pursuing its objectives in Colombia. Itaú Colombia runs some 55 branches across Colombia, while its customer base continues to expand.

Baruc Saez, CEO of Itaú Colombia told TBY that the bank is highly mindful of its customer satisfaction and has come up with feedback loops to take into account what the clients say and feel about the service they receive.

One of the incentives that pushes Colombian corporate clients to choose Itaú is the fact that the bank is working closely with Itaú’s operations in the rest of Latin America, especially in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina.

This makes Itaú Colombia a truly regional bank, capable of offering regional transactions to those businesses which routinely trade with the rest of the region. “Itaú Colombia is the only bank in Colombia that can claim this distinction,” argues Saez. The bank currently has credit offerings fine-tuned for each of these regions.

Working with such a regional financial institution offers investors the chance to use Colombia—already attractive from their point of view—as a springboard for wider investment across the region. With the help of such partners, Colombia could emerge as a useful gateway for broader opportunities.

You may also be interested in...


Telecoms & IT

Colombia’s IT and telecoms sector and the role of digitalization

IT and telcoms and the digital transformation in Colombia

View More

Energy & Mining

The Next Step

Colombia's oil and gas industry

View More


Sound Advice

Managing risk properly

View More

Green Economy

The Green Wire

Colombia's green economy

View More


A Guiding Hand

The evolving role of the consultant

View More



The changing face of auditing in Colombia

View More

Real Estate & Construction

Real Estate Investment in Colombia

Opportunities in an Emerging Market

View More
View All Articles