Banking and finance in Costa Rica

Aguilar Castillo Love

The 'robust and efficient' banking and finance group at Aguilar Castillo Love continues to be a vital line of support for major international and regional financial institutions engaged in high-value, cross-border transactions. Led by finance expert Marco Solano Gómez and senior partner John Aguilar-Quesada, the team advises such clients as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, HSBC, Bank of America, Credit Suisse Group and American Express on financial transactions in a broad range of sectors, including financial services, real estate, agrochemical, automotive, technology and fintech. The regional firm's broad practice covers advice on secured and unsecured financings, due diligence, regulatory matters, and single bank and syndicated loan facilities. Securities specialist Stephanie Howard Peña provides valuable support at associate level.

Practice head(s):

Marco Solano Gómez; John Aguilar-Quesada

Testimonials

‘Very reliable and practical local advice. As an in-house counsel having no experience in Costa Rica, we were very happy about the robust, efficient support we received.’

‘Marco Solano was always willing to go beyond the instructions given, providing us with an insight into the local market which we could not foresee without his support. His efficient and practical advice helped us to go through a difficult matter which was Covid-affected and required a swift response.’

Key clients

American Express Company

Bank of America Corporation

Credit Suisse Group

Barclays

Goldman Sachs

JP Morgan

Banco Ficohsa (Panama)

UBS Group

HSBC

The Blackstone Group

Work highlights

  • Advising JP Morgan on its debtor-in-possession financing to Avianca.

Arias

The 'experienced' team at regional firm Arias remains a leading force in the banking and finance practice area. Assisting international financial institutions engaged in high-value transactions, the group provides advice on regulatory issues, M&A finance, leasing, security trusts, insurance issues, performance bonds and guarantees, and cross-border financing. Led by the experienced Vicente Lines, the team advises such clients as the US International Development Finance Corporation, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and HSBC on financial matters in a diverse range of sectors, including financial services, packaging and hospitality. The team’s roster of talent includes asset specialist and newly promoted partner Diego Gallegos, senior associate Ignacio Flores, a regulatory expert, and senior counsel and due diligence authority Tracy Valera.

Practice head(s):

Vicente Lines

Testimonials

‘The team’s professionalism, its knowledge, and at the same time its ability to understand and delve into the commercial peculiarities of transactions is excellent.’

‘They are experienced and have a good reputation.’

‘Tracy Varela is spectacular.’

‘The firm is incredibly knowledgeable about legal practice at the domestic and international level. There is a lot of collaboration between the teams in  different countries and a lot of willingness to improve transactions.’

Key clients

Bladex

Proparco

FMO

IDB Invest

US International Development Finance Corporation

Goldman Sachs

Gualapack

HSBC

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

JP Morgan

First Citizens Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Goldman Sachs on a loan to Panacafe, the operator of the Starbucks franchise in Central America and Mexico, where the shares of the local entity were pledged as security.
  • Advising HSBC, the trustee of the creditor, Citicorp International, on the restructuring of a loan granted to Nord Anglia Education, the owner of 69 schools worldwide.
  • Advised JP Morgan on regulatory issues due to changes to the legislation governing local banks’ insolvency processes and the establishment of new regulations.

BLP

Regional firm BLP continues to be a key leader in banking and finance, advising international financial institutions on high-value, cross-border transactions. Led by the 'attentiveVivian Liberman, who has expertise in advising multilateral financial institutions, and financial regulation specialist Andrés López, and supported by capital markets authority Julio Castellanos, the team acts for such top-shelf clients as the International Finance Corporation, Total Leasing Finco, the US International Development Finance Corporation, Gencom Group and Banco Nacional de Costa Rica. The group’s client portfolio spans a broad range of sectors, including financial services, real estate, investment, aviation, and software and SaaS. The team’s wide-ranging expertise extends to credit facility agreements, the structuring and negotiating of loan agreements, diversified payment rights securitisations, due diligence processes, and regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Vivian Liberman; Andrés Lopez

Testimonials

‘BLP is a firm that has excellent customer service and specialised personnel in the fields of law where they practise. The banking practice offers a quality service.’

‘A team with a lot of experience in structuring and negotiating complex loans. They are always available and are a true ally in pushing transactions to a close. They are also excellent in collection processes, and highly knowledgeable about the legislation and jurisprudence to achieve successful collection and enforcement.’

‘This team is made up of very high-level lawyers. The team members enjoy not only a high academic level but also recognised experience in each of the areas in which they work. We are pleased to receive such a high-quality service, which is generally provided through the participation of a group of lawyers with different specialties, which makes it possible to obtain comprehensive solutions from various points of view.’

‘They are usually very prompt and responsive, and follow up on matters out of their own initiative.’

‘Andrés Lopez and Vivian Liberman are attentive to the needs of a development finance organisation and well connected in the local business community. Julio Castellanos is also good.’

‘The team stand out for their availability. They have an excellent bench. If one lawyers is not available, they can call upon any other member of the team, who will be completely up to date and able to advise and answer questions in the best way. This is important so as not to lose continuity and not to hinder processes and delay closing deals.’

‘What makes the team unique is the client service. They are always available and focused on keeping deals flowing smoothly.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

Total Leasing Finco

Portafolio Inmobiliario

US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Gramercy Funds Management

3Pillar Global

Gencom Group

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)

Work highlights

  • Assisted the IFC with an agreement for the financing of $12m for infrastructure renovation projects in the Costa Rican capital.
  • Advised Agence Française de Développement (AFD) on its €137m credit facility to the Republic of Costa Rica.
  • Advised Total Leasing on the purchase of an important part of the portfolio of leased vehicles and equipment from Grupo Kineret.

Consortium Legal

The powerhouse banking and finance practice at Consortium Legal remains a market leader. Providing 'an impeccable service' to top international lenders and private equity firms, it advises on a wide range of matters, including secured and unsecured financing, loans, compliance, regulatory issues, legal due diligence, and asset-based financing. The group, which is led by cross-border finance expert Mario Quesada-Bianchini and regulatory authority David Arturo Campos, represents a diverse portfolio of clients such as Citibank, Scotiabank and the Inter-American Development Bank in a variety of sectors, including finance, tourism, real estate and food. A separate team, headed by Randall Barquero, handles all matters related to fintech.  Andrés Chamberlain manages the retail banking division. The regional firm's expertise extends to the structuring of local and international bond issuances, assisting with licensing requirements and M&A in the financial industry.

Practice head(s):

Mario Quesada-Bianchini; David Arturo Campos; Randall Barquero; Andrés Chamberlain; Oscar Sandoval

Testimonials

‘The knowledge of the partners is very broad, both in the sector and on the national and international scene. Mario Quesada and Randall Barquero are very good professionals who always seek to provide the best service to their clients, constantly following up and monitoring the instructions given, which has allowed us to be aware of details that other firms might consider irrelevant.’

‘Consortium Legal has acted for our bank and its branches in Central America for more than ten years, providing an impeccable service. It is a very professional, proactive, competent and innovative team, which offers a service of the highest quality in banking and finance matters.’

Key clients

Citibank

Scotiabank

Banco Davivienda

BAC Credomatic

Banco Lafise

Banco General

First Citizens Bank

Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex)

Bancolombia

Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

Work highlights

  • Advising Citibank, Scotiabank, Davivienda, Bac Credomatic and Banco Lafise on various matters, including commercial transactions, loans and regulatory issues.
  • Advised Banco General, First Citizens Bank, Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex) and Bancolombia on corporate and commercial banking and regulatory issues.
  • Advised Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) on project financing.

Latamlex / Gómez y Galindo Abogados, S.A

With an experienced banking and finance team, Latamlex / Gómez y Galindo Abogados, S.A remains a strong regional presence. Led by managing partner Adriana Ramos and the highly regarded Daniel Guillén and José Antonio Hidalgo, the team advises national and international financial institutions on day-to-day operations and provides representation before regulatory bodies. The group's advice extends to such matters as special bank contracting, derivatives, syndicated loans, the structuring of guarantees, and insolvency and bankruptcy matters.

EY Law Central America

The banking and finance group at EY Law Central America regularly advises multinational financial institutions involved in high-value, cross-border transactions. Led by the experienced Arturo Apéstegui and senior manager Carlos Ayón, and supported by manager Magda Morales, who specialises in credit restructuring, the team assists such clients as Liberty Latin America, Distribuidora La Florida and Bunge Financial Services Group with transactions in a diverse spectrum of sectors, including financial services, food, telecoms, real estate and insurance. The group’s advice covers bank contracts and complex structures, private capital funds, commercial loans, regulatory matters, mortgage banking, and project and equipment financing.

Practice head(s):

Arturo Apéstegui; Carlos Ayón

Key clients

BBVA USA

Liberty Latin America

Distribuidora La Florida

Bunge

TMF Group

Biogenetica

Financiera Comeca

Work highlights

  • Advised BBVA USA and Metlife Private Equity Holdings on the structuring, drafting and registration of the Costa Rican security package of a credit granted to 3P Parent, 3Pillar Global, and 3Pillar Holdings for a transaction in Costa Rica.
  • Assisted Liberty Latin America with the amendment and restatement of a credit agreement in order to increase the company’s credit.
  • Assisted Distribuidora La Florida with a bridge loan and the renegotiation of a syndicated loan between the client and Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Banco de Costa Rica, Scotiabank de Costa Rica and Banco BAC San José.

Vector Legal

The experienced team at Vector Legal continues to provide bank and non-bank clients with advice on a wide range of financial matters, from capital investments and credit operations to debt restructuring and IPOs. Founding partners Roberto León, Jessica Salas and Roberto Bolaños are the key contacts.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven

The team at Zürcher, Odio & Raven advises institutions from brokerage firms to factoring companies on a diverse range of matters, including the regulatory aspects of operations and the design and structuring of commodities and financial derivatives. Experienced lead partner Douglas Soto is a key contact.

Colbs Estudio Legal

The banking and finance team at Colbs Estudio Legal tailors a 'personalised service' for national and international financial institutions. The group advises clients on a wide range of issues, from the structuring and formalisation of loans, factoring operations and the negotiation of lease agreements, to security obligations, regulatory matters and debt collection strategies. Led by private institution authority Javier Escalante and collections strategy expert Sebastián Jiménez, the team has a diverse client roster, including Financiera Brunca, Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista, dLocal and R&E Partners, drawn from a broad spectrum of sectors such as financial services, fintech and real estate. Key support is provided by associates Edwin Rojas, a loan structuring specialist, and Daniela Alvarado, who manages day-to-day transaction requirements.

Practice head(s):

Javier Escalante; Sebastián Jiménez

Testimonials

‘Colbs is a strategic resource for our operations in Costa Rica. They have a great management capacity and have a personalised service that is highly valued.’

‘What makes Colbs unique is the level of commitment they have to clients. We have not found that level of interest in understanding our needs and objectives at any other firm. Sometimes legal services are not tailored to the client and that ends up breaking relationships, however, at Colbs we have found a true strategic ally that understands our needs and provides us with strategic solutions.’

‘Sebastián Jimenez stands out for his availability. He is always a call or message away to attend to any particular situation or request that comes our way. He provides solutions that are tailored to our needs, and seeks to come up with fast and efficient solutions for the good of our business. His professionalism and experience make us feel confident about the decisions that are made and we trust his judgment very much.’

‘In terms of procedural strategy, Edwin Rojas is undoubtedly the best. He has an expert eye for making procedural decisions that is noteworthy, and his experience has helped us a lot.’

‘Daniela Alvarado’s availability and attention to clients is undoubtedly the face of Colbs’ approach. She is always available to respond to emails, calls or messages, and has a great ability to act under pressure and make decisions.’

‘The firm stands out for its professional ability and excellent level of availability. We highly value the service we receive and our close relationship with the partners.’

Key clients

Financiera Brunca

Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista

dLocal

R&E Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising Financiera Brunca on the structuring and formalisation of loans, its factoring operation and collection cases.
  • Advised Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista, a real estate investment fund in Costa Rica, on debt collection matters.
  • Advised dLocal, the second fintech company in Costa Rica allowed to process payments in the local currency, on managing the payment operations of international technology firms.

Dentons Muñoz

Dentons Muñoz continues to advise regional financial institutions engaged in local and international transactions. Its key strengths include asset securitisation, debt restructuring, investment funds and trusts, project finance, syndicated loan contracts and regulatory compliance. The banking and finance team is led by experienced partner Roy de Jesús Herrera and supported by of counsel Rocío Amador, who specialises in financial regulation.

Practice head(s):

Roy de Jesús Herrera

Sfera Legal

The team at Sfera Legal provides a wide range of advice to regional financial institutions, covering project finance, public and private offerings, loan structuring, credit facilities, debt structuring and restructuring, investment agreements and regulatory compliance. Led by the experienced Carlos Abarca Umaña, and supported by founding partner Robert van der Putten, finance specialist Rafael Cañas and associate Andrea Martín Jiménez, a regulatory expert, the group advises clients on high-value transactions across the tourism, banking and insurance sectors.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Abarca Umaña