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Brazil's Bradesco buys Ictineo to create digital bank in Mexico

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows a smartphone with displayed Bradesco logo and stock graph

By Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian lender Banco Bradesco SA said on Thursday its subsidiary Bradescard has agreed to acquire Mexico's Ictineo Plataforma SA in a bid to offer digital accounts in Latin America's second-largest economy.

Bradesco said the acquisition will allow the bank to enter the banking retail area, offering digital accounts, payroll loans and investment accounts.

The Brazilian bank has been in Mexico for 12 years through financing company Bradescard Mexico. The deal value was not disclosed and the transaction is subject to approval by regulators. Bradescard has around 3 million clients in private-label credit cards offered by Mexican retailers.

"We can now have a digital bank and aim for a larger market share in a relevant market like Mexico," Bradesco Chief Executive Octavio Lazari said in a statement.

After the first phase, Bradesco plans to increase the number of products to include auto loans and mortgages. Bradesco plans to also increase its credit card penetration and be among the largest credit card issuers in five years.

Bradesco, which has never ventured in retail banking outside Brazil, will face competition from digital bank Nubank. The digital bank has been growing faster than expected in Mexico, CEO David Velez told Reuters

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Steven Grattan and Jonathan Oatis)