August 2, 2008
Banco de Venezuela is one of the most important banks in Venezuela, with a 12 percent share of the market in loans and obtained profits of US$170 million in the first half of 2008, a 29 percent increase on 2007, when its profits had already increased by 20 percent. It has 285 offices and 3 million customers. Banco de Venezuela was nationalized in 1994 after a massive banking crisis which bankrupted 60 percent of the banking sector, only to be privatized in 1996 and bought by the Spanish multinational banking group Grupo Santander for only US$300 million. In only nine months Grupo Santander recovered its original investment.