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As of March 31, 2004, BBVA Banco Francés was the first largest private bank in Argentina in terms of deposits, according to statistics published by the Central Bank of Argentina (Information of Financial Institutions). As of the same date, we had, on consolidated basis, Ps.8.1 billion in deposits, Ps.13.6 billion in total assets and Ps.7.4 billion in net total loans.
The Bank is based in Buenos Aires and operates a banking network of 231 retail branches throughout Argentina and 27 branches specialized in middle market, plus 38 Credilogros offices, a financial subsidiary servicing low income individuals. Furthermore, the Bank conducts capital markets and securities operations directly, in the over-the-counter market, and through a subsidiary, in the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.

In December 1996, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya S.A. (currently Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, "BBVA") acquired 99.90% of the capital stock of Otar S.R.L., majority shareholder of Sud América Inversiones S.A., which in turn owned 30.04% of the capital stock of Banco Francés. By the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 BBVA owned 79.5% of the Bank’capital stock.

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria

Our major shareholder: BBVA, an international Group
The international presence of BBVA now dates back a century. In 1902, Banco de Bilbao opened a branch in Paris and, in 1918, another in London. In this respect, the group was several decades ahead of the remainder of Spanish banks.

In the 70's, Banco de Bilbao, Banco de Vizcaya and Banco Exterior progressed to become international groups, with the incorporation of operational and representative offices in the main financial centres of Europe, Latin America and Asia. At the same time, the first local banks are established in these geographical areas, principally in Latin America.

Banco Exterior founded BEX Panama in 1968, constituting the current BBVA Panama with the integration in 2000 of BBV Panama.

In 1979 Banco de Vizcaya acquired Banco Comercial de Mayagüez in Puerto Rico, founded in 1967 by a group and traders and industrialists. It became BBV Puerto Rico and, in 1992, a period of growth began through acquisitions, resulting in the current BBVA Puerto Rico.

But it is from 1995 onwards that BBV developed an international strategy for international expansion that led it to build a great franchise in Latin America, making a significant investment in capital, technology and human resources.

In 1995 the institution expanded into Peru, with the privatisation of Banco Continental, and into Mexico, with Probursa.

The roots of Banco Continental, known as "your friendly bank", date back to 1951. The Bank combines dedication to the customer with its concern for culture. In 1970 it was incorporated into Banca Asociada, with the participation of the State in the share ownership.

In 1996, BBV expanded its presence in Colombia with Banco Ganadero and in Argentina with Banco Francés.

Banco Ganadero was founded in 1956 with the backing of a group of cattle breeders in that region. Their aim was to promote agriculture. In 1959, Law 26 transformed the bank into a mixed economy company, with the Government, individuals and farmers as the shareholders.

Banco Frances (from Rio de La Plata) was founded in Buenos Aires in 1886. For almost a century it provided banking services to large companies in Argentina. During the 80's, it expanded a network of branches throughout the country that enabled it to broaden its client base to include small and medium sized enterprises and individuals.

In 1997, BBV moved into Venezuela via Banco Provincial, founded in 1953. Initially, Banco Provincial focused its activities on the capital and central regions. Nowadays this financial institution is one of the most important and solid in Venezuela, with a leadership position that it has held since 1983.

In 1998, the Group commenced operations in Chile, with Banco BHF. The origins of the Banco BHIF date back to the year 1883 which saw the creation of the Banco Hipotecario in Valparaíso. In 1976 a process of expansion was initiated, propelled by the three industrial groups that controlled it, and the head quarters were transferred to Santiago. In 1989 it merged with the Banco Nacional under the name of Banco BHIF.

In the year 2000 Mexico was the site of a merger between BBV Probursa and Bancomer to create BBVA Bancomer, the premier bank in that country. Bancomer was founded in 1932 in Mexico City, under the name of Banco de Comercio. In 1977 the entities of the Commercial Banking System were consolidated into one: Bancomer. Nationalised in 1982, along with other banks in Mexico, the majority of its shares were acquired in 1991 by a group of Mexican investors.

Year 2001 saw the completion of the implementation of the unified platform for all businesses and all countries, and the BBVA brand was consolidated in Group entities in Latin America.

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