Best Bank - Mexico

Nov 1, 2010

Mexican retail banks are known for making customers pay through their noses.

Clients endure costs for even basic services like savings accounts and online banking, as well as paying steep interest rates on loans and credit cards set by a powerful banking oligopoly.

Such practices have helped an already well-capitalized, conservative banking system stay profitable when lenders around the world hemorrhaged cash during global crisis, analysts say. So while some experts worry that high prices could delay penetration of banking services in Mexico, the benefits ensure that little is done beyond incremental fee cuts.

BBVA Bancomer – the largest bank in Mexico with $1.1 trillion pesos in assets as of June, according to the CNBV – is no exception. Its dominant position in most lending segments allows it to take a lead in influencing prices, says Fitch analyst Alejandro García. Moody’s says the bank has kept its net interest margin at 6.4%, more than the peer average of 6.2%, despite crisis....

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“The crisis has been a setback for reserve diversification."

Jan Dehn, Ashmore Investment Management