Grupo BBVA to invest $3.5 bn in Mexico through 2016

Mexico City, Mar 21 (EFRE).- Grupo BBVA on Thursday unveiled a four-year, $3.5 billion investment plan for its Mexican unit, saying the funds would be used to modernize more than 1,700 bank branches nationwide and meet other objectives.

"This is an unprecedented investment (program) ... the largest investment in the history of BBVA Bancomer and one of the largest made by a private company in Mexico in such a short space of time," the executive chairman of the Bilbao, Spain-based banking group, Francisco Gonzalez, said.

He announced the 2013-2016 plan in a ceremony at the presidential palace with head of state Enrique Peña Nieto.

The investment outlay will "benefit millions of Mexicans (who are) customers and users of BBVA Bancomer," the Latin American country's largest financial institution.

"With nearly 21 million customers, BBVA Bancomer leads practically all market segments with (market) shares in loans of between 20 percent and 30 percent," he added.

The chairman said BBVA Bancomer is both Mexico's leading bank and the one most committed to the country, adding that the institution has shown that dedication "through its actions."

Finally, Gonzalez praised the Mexican economy and the "great resiliency and strength" it has shown in the recent years of crisis, predicting that the country will consolidate itself as "one of the world's leading and most dynamic economies."