NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Itau Unibanco (ITUB) - Get Report are increasing 0.96% to $11.02 as shareholders of Chile's CorpBanca (BCA) today approved a $1.8 billion merger with the Brazilian bank's Chilean operations, Reuters reports.
"The approval is a decisive step toward creating a regional banking leader," Itau CEO Roberto Setubal stated. "This transaction is consistent with Itau Unibanco's strategy to significantly expand its footprint in Latin America."
For Corpbanca, the deal will also give them a larger presence in Latin America and will help solidify the platform that Corpbanca has been building in Chile and Colombia, Corpbanca CEO Fernando Massau said.
If this deal were to be completed, it would be Latin America's largest banking combination since 2008, and would be Chile's fourth-largest lender, Reuters said.
The combined bank will have $48.5 billion in assets, $33 billion in loans and more than 10,000 employees, according to Bloomberg.
The action towards a merger comes as Itau is looking to expand outside of Brazil in order to improve its home country's economic downturn.
The merger still has to meet with regulatory approval and it will likely be finalized in early 2016, Reuters noted.