Ending the Consumer Credit Drought
For years, personal credit in Mexico and Brazil was outrageously expensive and near impossible to obtain. Declining interest and inflation rates are changing that. Non-banks are lending where traditional banks fear to tread.
Serfín, the Mexican bank, made a much-noticed splash
in the credit card market at the end of last year. In
September, with a multimillion advertising blitz, the bank
launched Serfín Light, a credit card with an annual
interest rate of "just" 22%. By Mexican standards, this a small
price to pay for credit and one that other banks which charge
around 37% a year, have yet to match. Within six months of
introducing its cut-rate card, Mexico's third-largest bank more
than doubled its credit card portfolio to $358 million through
balance transfers and signed up more than 500,000 new accounts.
"Serfín Light is everywhere," says Fernando
Chávez, a chauffeur who said he got the card because its
rate is so much lower than its competitors. Although he hasn't
actually used his card yet, Chávez says he sees it as a
kind of financial safety net should he have an accident...
Already have an account?
Subscribe now for unlimited access to all current and archive news, data and market analysis.
Take a free two-week trial now for the latest news, data and market analysis.