MADRID Spain's second-biggest lender BBVA (BBVA.MC) shut its office in Sydney at the end of last year and is downsizing branches in Japan and South Korea, sources close to the matter told Thomson Reuters' Basis Point on Thursday.
BBVA's high cost of capital made it difficult to compete in the Asia Pacific banking market, which is dominated by Chinese and Japanese banks with cheaper funding costs, the sources said.
The Spanish bank aims to focus on Asian clients with links to Europe and Latin America, targeting activities such as cash management and trade finance, which typically do not use much of its balance sheet, one of the sources said.
A BBVA spokeswoman in Madrid confirmed the downsizing.
(Writing by Jesús Aguado; Editing by David Goodman)