BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
Peter Cardinal, executive vice president for Latin America for Scotiabank (BNS), will retire from the Canadian bank in December after 43 years. He has led the Latin America division the past four years after heading up Scotiabank's Mexico business - its largest in Latin America - the previous seven years. During Cardinal's period at the helm of Scotiabank in Latin America, the bank has significantly expanded its business and presence in the region, acquiring banks in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. Latin America was a major factor behind the 13 percent growth in Scotiabank's international revenues in the third fiscal quarter, which ended July 31. Latin Business Chronicle talked to Cardinal about the highlights of his career, what he liked most and least in the region and the progress and outlook for banking in Latin America.
Latin Business Chronicle: What is the thing you have most enjoyed about running Scotiabank’s Latin America division?
Cardinal: The culture. [In] Mexico, you get on the elevator, and people say hello, buenas dias, con permiso. Here, you get on an elevator and people look at the TV screen. Nobody says [nothing] to anybody. The warmth of the people - that's universal throughout Latin America...I've been very fortunate. This is the best job I’ll ever have. Mexico was a tremendous job. I didn’t think I could top that. And yet in Latin America, we've had more growth than ever in the history of the bank. That is tremendous. Today, we're probably 25,000 employees in nine countries [and] 1,000 branches. In transforming the bank, if I played role – even small – I'm extremely pleased and thankful for having had the opportunity.
What will you miss the least when you retire?
Coming into [the office] in the morning...traffic, the commute. [But] I truly have been extremely fortunate to work with great people in a great organization. I'll miss that.
What are the main benefits of doing business in Latin America compared to other regions? All of these countries are under-banked. They all have young populations, without exception, the banking system is growing...