Another Wake Up Call
Politicians again are demanding that Mexico's banks lend more. As the pressure mounts, consumer finance companies are steam-rolling into the market.
One issue dominated the annual gathering of Mexican bankers
in Acapulco in March, just as it does every year. Strange as it
may seem to those poorly acquainted with Mexico's banking
system, politicians are having to twist bankers' arms to make
them lend money. Lending is a bank's main function in most
countries, but not in Mexico. Bankers have resisted these
demands for years, but the pressure is becoming unbearable.
Politicians and business leaders are fuming that banks are
chalking up fat profits from charging their customers fees,
rather than from interest on loans. Insufficient credit makes
it hard for companies to sell their products and difficult for
consumers to buy them. President Vicente Fox himself laid into
the bankers in Acapulco. "Mexico needs banks to take up their
role as promoters of sustainable economic growth," Fox said.
"Without credit there's no growth, without growth, no
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