Top Banks in Costa Rica
Overview of Costa Rica's leading financial institutions
Overview of Costa Rica's leading financial institutions
The banking system of Costa Rica is composed of state-owned banks, commercial banks, private finance companies, savings and loans cooperatives, and insurance companies. All banks in Costa Rica are covered by the policies set by the Banco Central de Costa Rica, which is the country’s central bank. It is responsible for setting the banking policies that are enforced by the General Supervisory Agency of Finance.
Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded the ratings of some banks in Costa Rica in terms of foreign currency senior unsecured debt and local currency deposits. From Ba1, the rating of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR) and Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) was downgraded to Ba2, with a negative outlook.
For anyone considering a banking career in Costa Rica, this list of top banks in Costa Rica is a helpful guide on where to start. To learn more, see our list of financial institutions.
Headquartered in San Jose, Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR) is the largest state-owned commercial bank in the country. It is also the second largest bank in Central America in terms of assets. It was formed in 1914 under the name Banco Internacional de Costa Rica. In 1936, the bank changed its name to Banco Nacional de Costa Rica. It was classified as an AA+ class bank by Fitch Ratings in 2013.
State-owned commercial bank Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) is considered one of the strongest banks in Costa Rica, as well as in Central America. It was established in 1877 as a private commercial bank, but in the last decade of the 19th century, it was designated to become a currency issuer and the exclusive manager of public revenues.
International financial group, Citibank, founded Citi Costa Rica in 1968. The bank is known for its expertise in several banking services, including foreign exchange, corporate, and institutional internet services. Citi Costa Rica is also the only one of the banks in Costa Rica to offer Global Wealth Management service with local advice to clients. In 2008, the bank formed a Shared Service Center in Costa Rica, making Citi Costa Rica a leader in providing corporate banking solutions.
With headquarters in Escazú, Banco Promerica de Costa Rica, S.A. provides a wide range of financial products and services such as savings, mortgages, insurance, foreign trade, foreign exchange, and local and international transfers. It also offers tax collection and payment, tariff, and e-factoring services. It is a subsidiary of Promerica Financial Corporation.
Banco BAC San Jose is a financial institution that is part of the BAC International Bank group, providing electronic and financial banking services including current and savings accounts, advance wage payments, credit, and insurance. The bank is based in San José.
Headquartered in San Jose, Banco Bct S.A. was established in 1983. The bank operates as a subsidiary of Corporación BCT S.A., providing a range of financial products and services across the country. In 2000, it acquired Corporación Bancomer and expanded the banking solutions it offers in the country.
In 2007, Banco Bct purchased Compañía Financiera de Londres, allowing the bank to further increase the number of its financial offerings to its clients.
Banco Improsa, S.A. is a subsidiary of Grupo Financiero Improsa, S.A. and is based in San Jose. The bank provides various banking products and services such as savings and checking accounts, deposits, loans, term investments, overdrafts, and electronic banking payments. It was established in 1968 as Financiera Improsa, S.A. In 1995, it changed its name to Banco Improsa, S.A.
Banco Davivienda (Costa Rica) S.A. provides various financial products and services such as bank accounts, loans, investments, payments and cash management, insurance, brokerage services, and private banking. It was formerly known as Banco HSBC Costa Rica S.A.
In 2012, Colombian bank Davivienda acquired HSBC’s banking and insurance operations in the country. Since then, the bank operates through Corporación Davivienda (Costa Rica), S.A.
Universal bank Banco General (Costa Rica) S.A. is a subsidiary of Banco General. It was founded in 1955 with headquarters in San Jose. Panama-based businessmen incorporated it as the first Private Bank of Panamanian Capital, later becoming the largest of private banks in Costa Rica.
The bank provides banking products and services through 73 branches and over 600 ATMs. It also oversees representative offices in other countries, including Peru, El Salvador, and Mexico.
In 1995, international financial group Scotiabank entered the financial market of Costa Rica through its 80% acquisition of Corporación Mercaban, the holding company of Banco Mercantil Group. In the following year, Scotiabank registered Banco Mercantil de Costa Rica S.A. under the name Scotiabank de Costa Rica S.A. The group acquired full ownership of the bank in 2001.
Scotiabank de Costa Rica provides a range of financial solutions to individuals, SMEs, and large corporations. The bank currently employs over 1,200 individuals and oversees a network of 42 full-service branches and 80 ATMs.
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This has been CFI’s guide to the top banks in Costa Rica. For anyone looking for a career in banking, this list is a great place to start your networking. Please also see these additional resources: