Thursday, August 17, 2006

Banking on the Bolivarian Revolution

The good times are rolling for Venezuelan bankers; the abundance of black gold and high market prices is making them wealthier and wealthier. However, it looks like the party is almost over as Chávez seeks to meddle more into their business, and nationalizing the banking system is not totally out of the question.
Bankers get rich from Chávez’s revolution
By Andy Webb-Vidal in Caracas
Published: August 16 2006 17:46 | Last updated: August 16 2006 17:46

Bankers traditionally face firing squads in times of revolution. But in Venezuela, they are having a party.

Dirán Sarkissián, president of the local subsidiary of Stanford Bank, a US bank with offshore operations based on the Caribbean island of Antigua, is proud of his rapidly lengthening list of high-net-worth customers who are enjoying President Hugo Chávez’s self-styled “Bolivarian Revolution”.

“As far as growth is concerned we’re very happy,” says Mr Sarkissián. That might be an understatement. Deposits have increased by 600 per cent to $106m (£57m, €84m) in the year since the boutique bank opened for business in Caracas.

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