1912: Banque Française & Italienne pour l'Amérique du Sud (Sudameris) branch opened in Buenos Aires.
1930: Banco di Napoli (BN) branch opened in Buenos Aires.
1940: Direzione generale per i paesi sudamericani (DIGESUD) created following the transfer of Sudameris' management from Paris to Buenos Aires.
1978: Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) representative office opened in Buenos Aires.
1980: Banco Ambrosiano de América del Sud S.A. inaugurated.
1995: Banco Sudameris Argentina SA, a bank financed by foreign capital but subject to local law and incorporating Sudameris' 24 Argentinian branches, founded.
1999: Sanpaolo IMI representative office opened in Buenos Aires.
2000: Merger of Banco Sudameris Argentina SA and Banco Caja de Ahorro.
2003: Merger of Banco Sudameris Argentina SA into Banco Patagonia and exit from the Intesa Group.
Banca Commerciale Italiana (BCI) first began operating in Argentina through its subsidiary Banque Française & Italienne pour l'Amérique du Sud (Sudameris), which set up a branch in Buenos Aires in 1912. In Argentina also operated the Banco de Italia y Río de la Plata, a company founded in 1872 in Buenos Aires with Italian capitals. In 1956 ,Credito di Venezia and the Rio de la Plata was founded thanks to the acquisition of Banco's Italian branches by Credito Industriale of Venice, then, in 1967, it was incorporated into IBI, which, in turn, was merged into Cariplo Spa in 1991.
However, the first Italian bank to establish a direct presence in Argentina was Banco di Napoli (BN), tasked by Italian government authorities with managing the remittances of emigrants, who continued to pour into South America. Although the bank had already been handling remittances through correspondent banks, including Sudameris itself, for decades, in June 1921 it decided to open its own branch in Argentina. However, the branch was set up in Buenos Aires only in 1930, charged with assisting Italian companies operating in Argentina as well.
When World War II broke out in late 1939 Sudameris' management was moved from Paris to Buenos Aires so that the bank would be able to continue to operate. This was how the Directorate-General for South American Countries (Direzione generale per i paesi sudamericani - DIGESUD), headed by Giovanni Malagodi, was created. The bank and its personnel committed to a "neutralization" agreement in 1940, thereby enabling both the continued functioning of the bank and cooperation between its Italian and French personnel.
BN was the only Italian banking institution with a direct presence in Argentina both at the time the Allies put it on their black list during World War II and in 1946, when it resumed its activities.
BCI's first representative office was inaugurated in Buenos Aires in 1979. In 1980 Banco Ambrosiano, too, began working in Argentina through its subsidiary, Banco Ambrosiano de América del Sud SA.
Istituto Bancario San Paolo (IBSP), despite having been one of the top four Italian banks in the 1980s in terms of its market share of the financial exchanges with Argentina, had no direct presence in the country. On 1 February 1999 IBSP finally set up a representative office in Buenos Aires following its merger into Sanpaolo IMI.
In 1995 Sudameris' 24 branches were combined to create Banco Sudameris Argentina SA, an institution subject to local law that in 2000 merged with Banco Caja de Ahorro, the banking branch of the insurance group Caja de Ahorro y Seguros, thereby becoming the eighth largest private bank in Argentina.
After leaving the Intesa Group, in 2003 Banco Sudameris Argentina SA merged with Banco Patagonia.
ASI-BCI, CM, Digesud, cart. 24
ASI-BCI, CM, Reminder of Mattioli to Ciano, May 12, 1940, cart. 166, f. Majnoni
ASI-BCI, VCA, July 30, 1940, vol. 19, p. 192
ASI-BCI, Sudameris, VCA