- At the beginning of the 1990s, Colombia’s financial sector was characterized by its reduced size, segmented and oligopolistic structure, and a dominant presence of the State, which held 50 per cent of the banking system assets. The sector was severely repressed and was highly inefficient. The 1970s and 1980s in Colombia were a period of severe restrictions to foreign investment in general, and most particularly to that directed to the financial sector. The Decree Law 444 of 1967 gave the Government a set of tools to channel foreign direct investment towards the sectors considered “a priority for the economic development”. The privatization processes of the first floor credit establishments of the public sector took place between 1991 and 1996. The intermediaries that were privatized first, although not exclusively, were those who had been taken over by the government during the 1980s crisis.