Includes special features of this country’s banking system and rules/laws that might impact U.S. business.
El Salvador’s banking system is sound and generally well-managed and supervised. The banking system’s total assets as of January 2017 totaled $16 billion. The Financial System Supervisor (Superintendencia del Sistema Financiero, SSF), an independent regulatory agency, authorizes and supervises all financial institutions in El Salvador.  In August 2011, the Financial System Supervisor was merged with the Stock Market and the Pension Supervisor in order to create a single, independent regulatory agency which is headed by a Directive Council.  The Central Bank regulates the financial system, administers international reserves, and manages the payment system and financial services, and provides services to exporters and importers (Centro de Tramites de Importaciones y Exportaciones – CIEX El Salvador).

By law, all transactions carried out in Salvadoran banks must be denominated in U.S. dollars.  Interest rates and fees are set by market conditions.  Private banks, branches of foreign banks, state-owned banks, and credit unions are authorized to collect funds from the public.  The banking industry is competitive due to the presence of foreign banks and the openness of the banking law.

Commercial banking services in El Salvador are provided by fourteen institutions: twelve private banks, and two state-owned banks.  The leading private banks:  Banco Agrícola S.A. (acquired by Bancolombia), Banco Cuscatlán (former Citibank de El Salvador S.A), Banco Davivienda Salvadoreño, S.A. (formerly HSBC), Scotiabank El Salvador S.A., and Banco de América Central S.A., together account for approximately 95% of the Salvadoran banking sector. Banco Hipotecario and Banco de Fomento Agropecuario are government owned with market share about 4%.  In addition to these aforementioned, there are other financial institutions authorized to capture savings from the public, including seven cooperatives and four savings and loans associations.

 

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El Salvador Market Access Banks