Banking and finance in Costa Rica

Arias

Fielding a strong team of dedicated practitioners with deep international experience, Arias focuses its banking and finance department on assisting foreign investors and institutions with their business operations in the country. As such, the team offers the full spectrum of banking and finance services, covering regulatory and compliance issues, leasing, asset financing, performance bonds and guarantees. Vicente Lines, an expert in project finance, heads the well-balanced department. He receives key support from associate Diego Gallegos, especially in asset finance and project finance transactions. Rosa Jiménez particularly stands out for real estate financing matters, including in the field of development vehicles.

Practice head(s):

Vicente Lines

Key clients

Hencorp

JP Morgan

Brickell Bank

OPIC

IDB

Work highlights

  • Advised Hencorp on the arrangement of new debt structures for loan paying
  • Assisting JP Morgan with purchasing debt bonds in Costa Rica
  • Assisted Brickell Bank with taking possession of movable assets as guarantee of a loan

BLP

Banking and finance remains one of BLP's strong suits on a regional level, and the firm fields a first-rate team in Costa Rica. The group handles the full range of related services, particularly in the area of credit and financing for regional projects and investments. Vivian Liberman and Andrés López jointly lead the team, bringing additional capabilities in the financing of government-owned infrastructure projects. Liberman further specialises in capital markets transactions and López is an expert in banking and finance regulatory work, including anti-money laundering compliance. Julio Castellanos, who made partner in January 2020, is especially adept at handling multi-jurisdictional credit operations for energy and infrastructure projects in the region.

Practice head(s):

Vivian Liberman; Andrés López

Key clients

Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas

Celsia

Citibank

International Finance Corporation

Capital Bank Panamá

Development Finance Corporation (Overseas Private Investment Corporation)

DEG – Deutsche Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft

Global Bank Corporation

Banco Pichincha Panamá

Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF)

BAC Credomatic

Banco BCT

Prival Bank

Scotiabank

BCIE

Mastercard

Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs

Wells Fargo

AP Structured Finance

Credit Suisse

Ufinet Costa Rica (and its parent companies)

FMO

Norfund

BPR Bank Panama

Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo

IDB Invest

Responsibility

AFD

Puentes y Portafolios

Work highlights

  • Advised BPR Bank on matters including the working capital to finance the leases of the parent company of Red Motors
  • Advised Celsia on the placement of a $320m corporate bond issue through its Panamanian subsidiary Alterenergy
  • Advising Responsibility, a fund of funds in Latin America, on various topics related to credit granting in Costa Rica

Consortium Legal

The stellar banking and finance team at regional heavyweight Consortium Legal provides a wide range of 'personalised' services, including hospitality financing, free trade regime advice and loan refinancing for hospitals and other medical institutions. The team's impressive client list includes numerous regional and international banks, which also require support with recent legal reforms in the country. A quartet comprising Mario Quesada-Bianchini, David Campos, Andrés Chamberlain and Randall Barquero spearheads the department. Barquero also leads the firm's growing fintech practice; Quesada-Bianchini shines in cross-border financing transactions; Campos specialises in securities and commercial law; and Chamberlain leads the practice's retail banking division.

Testimonials

‘They have specialised technical knowledge of the industry. Services are personalised to our needs.’

‘They offer quick response times that meet our business requirements, and provide innovative solutions in a rapidly changing regulatory environment. It is the best firm for banking and finance matters.’

‘The advantage of David Campos is his ability to react quickly to trends in the market and provide advice in an agile manner to respond to a new wave of regulations in the national banking system, within the changing regulatory environment of the banking sector. His experience of advising a large number of financial institutions over many years is very valuable when making decisions and taking action to mitigate risks.’

Key clients

Scotiabank

Citibank

Banco Davivienda

BAC Credomatic

Banco General

Banco Lafise

Bancolombia

First Citizens Bank

Inter-American Development Bank

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex)

Work highlights

  • Acted as legal counsel to Citigroup Global Markets and HSBC Securities in the issuance of sovereign bonds in Costa Rica in 2019
  • Acted as legal counsel for First Citizens Bank in the refinancing of the existing bank debt of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica

Aguilar Castillo Love

Acting mainly for regional and international banking institutions, Aguilar Castillo Love has extensive knowledge of clients' cross-border business needs and handles matters such as syndicated loan facilities, structured financings and portfolio acquisitions. The firm primarily acts on the lender side, including on behalf of private equity firms. The department is jointly led by Marco Solano and John Aguilar-Quesada, with the former particularly active in debt instruments, as well as financial transactions for international clients, and the latter focusing on local financings and debt restructuring. Associate Stephanie Howard Peña brings particular capital markets knowledge to the team.

Key clients

American Express Company

Bank of America Corporation

Credit Suisse Group

Barclays plc

Goldman Sachs

JP Morgan

Banco Ficohsa (Panama)

UBS Group

HSBC

The Blackstone Group

Latamlex / Gómez y Galindo Abogados, S.A

As part of a regional operation, Latamlex / Gómez y Galindo Abogados, S.A is well positioned to assist financial institutions with cross-border matters ranging from project financing, bond issuances and syndicated loans to trust fund management. The key contacts are Mario Gómez Pacheco, Adriana RamosJosé Antonio Hidalgo and Daniel Guillén.

EY Law Central America

Structuring of transactions, syndicated loans, trusts and leveraged buyouts are the specialities of EY Law Central America's banking and finance practice. Group leader Arturo Apéstegui, a credit structuring and retail banking expert, and his team are also no strangers to complex financing transactions, where they mostly act on the borrower side. Associate Carlos Ayón plays an important role in this field and brings additional financial regulation know-how to the team.

Practice head(s):

Arturo Apestegui

Testimonials

‘Excellent background knowledge and service quality.’

‘Great availability and committed to reaching the goal.’

Key clients

FMM Trust

Liberty Global

Inchcape

3-101-775185

Work highlights

  • Advised and drafted all legal documents required for the finance and leasing of more than 120 vehicles by Arrienda Express (part of Inchcape) to Europcar
  • Structured the Costa Rican collateral for FMM Trust in a credit granted by 12 Panamanian banks to Saint Honoré
  • Acted as local counsel in Costa Rica for Liberty Global in the negotiation and closing of a credit facility in the post-closing phase of its acquisition of Cabletica

Vector Legal

Vector Legal demonstrates particular strength in banking and finance law, assisting clients with a plethora of matters ranging from credit agreements, debt restructuring and equity investments to IPOs and registration processes. Roberto León, Jessica Salas and Roberto Bolaños Fonseca are the key contacts. In September 2019, associate Carlos Abarca Umaña moved to Sfera Legal.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven

The banking and finance group at Zürcher, Odio & Raven focuses on derivatives, securities and financing for commercial activities. Douglas Soto is the name to note.

Colbs Estudio Legal

Launched in April 2019, banking and finance services are a recent addition to the service portfolio at Colbs Estudio Legal. Collection services as well as mortgage and loan agreements make up the majority of the team's workload. Private financial institutions expert Javier Escalante and Sebastián Jiménez, who specialises in investment fund advice, co-chair the department. Other areas of expertise include commercial lending, factoring agreements and insolvency proceedings.

Key clients

Brunca Soluciones Financieras

Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista

Work highlights

  • Providing legal services to Brunca Soluciones Financieras on all banking and finance matters, including structuring and formalisation of loans
  • Developed and implemented a debt collection strategy for Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista

Dentons Muñoz

Dentons Muñoz advises on debt financing, equity investments and loan security packages. Disputes expert Roy de Jesús Herrera brings banking and asset securitisation knowledge to the table. Daniel Araya, previously a key practitioner in the team, moved to DV Business Solutions in January 2020.

Sfera Legal

Sfera Legal officially launched its banking and finance practice with the arrival of associate Carlos Abarca Umaña from Vector Legal in September 2019. Together with Robert van der Putten and Rafael Cañas, practice head Abarca advises primarily on loan executions. Other services to financial institutions include advice on banking agreements and guarantees, as well as support in regulatory reviews before the General Superintendence of Financial Entities (Sugef).

Practice head(s):

Carlos Abarca Umaña