We always joke that we had a branch in Jamaica long before we had one in Toronto. We started as a bank that was financing trade between the east coast and the Caribbean. That's our history. That's our route. We have 120-plus years of experience in developing markets.
Then about 30 years ago we had an opportunity to enter the Mexican market, and some visionary CEOs looked at doing that.
We do a lot of homework and a lot of due diligence before we enter a market. Obviously we are looking at stability of political systems, level of corruption. All those kinds of things have to meet our criteria or we don't enter a market.
After that, if we decide to enter a market, usually it's by acquisition. Then we look at the quality and culture of the company and whether it fits with our culture. If we don't end up with the same values and culture, regardless of whether the company is profitable or not, it's not going to be a good fit.
There's an awful lot of due diligence that's done before we think about entering a market. In our case we've built an expertise in Latin America. There's been a long history in the Caribbean, and now we have a history in Latin America—from Mexico to Peru to Chile, to Colombia last year, Brazil, and Uruguay.
We have a core competency in Spanish now. All of us in head office are learning Spanish as well. Over half of Scotiabank's employees speak Spanish as their first and usually only language, and we have some core competency in Latin American culture.
I was asked at the university why we aren't in Africa, and it's that it takes a massive amount of time, energy, and management attention to learn a market and a culture. For us, it's been Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia, outside of Canada.
Sorry. That was a long answer to your question.