MADRID, March 16 Spain's second-biggest lender
BBVA 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
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)