Bank of Nova Scotia, which has touted Latin America as an engine for growth, has lagged its Canadian peers over the past two years as sentiment soured on emerging markets.

The bank, with operations in more than 55 countries in Mexico since 1967, and consumer-lending operations in countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay and across the Caribbean, earned almost half its profit from outside Canada last year, according to its annual report. Earnings from Scotiabank’s operations in Mexico and Peru contributed 11 percent toward the firm’s total profit last year.

Scotiabank Costa Rica, a subsidiary of  the Canadian multinational financial services, was established in the country in 1995 and now has over 1,200 employees.

The day-to-day banking products include current accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and a variety of loans. Their head office is is La Sabana Norte, diagonal to the National Stadium, San José

Latin America is a key part of Scotiabank’s international banking operations. Porter, who took over as head of Canada’s third-largest lender by assets on Nov. 1, identified Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia as offering the greatest growth opportunities outside Canada in a March 5 interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters.

The relationship between the Latin America index and Scotiabank is “very strong,” said Bob Decker, a fund manager at Aurion Capital Market in Toronto. “But we’re off trend pretty strongly because Scotia has lagged again in the past three weeks,” as the Latin American index has rebounded.

Scotiabank, the only Canadian bank with significant operations in Latin America, has trailed its four domestic competitors as the MSCI Emerging Markets Latin America Index dropped 21 percent since April 2012. Scotiabank rose 19 percent in the two years through today while the Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Commercial Banks index gained 25 percent.

Source: Bloomberg