Mexican CUs Projected As Growing Bank Rivals

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In an interview with a local newspaper, Brian Branch, VP with the World Council of Credit Unions, said that Mexican credit unions probably will be strong competition for Mexico's banks after 2010, once sector consolidation slows.

Although the worldwide trend is toward emerging small niche players, large commercial banks dominate the mass market, Branch noted.

But he pointed out that credit unions have room to grow: 60% of Mexico's population is unbanked. In the United States, nearly 40% of Hispanics have no financial institution relationship.

A key factor holding back credit unions' growth in Mexico is financial instability, but similar institutions in other countries have overcome such problems by offering more services, such as credit and debit cards, checking accounts, and ATM services, Branch said. Those are the types of services that Caja Popular Mexicana (CPM)-the largest credit union system in Mexico-hopes in the future to offer its 600,000-plus members. The CPM has 320 branch offices and is represented in every state in Mexico except five.

The Texas league reported that the Texas/Mexico Credit Union Relationship Committee continues to work closely with the CPM to explore how the two groups can enhance service to Mexicans living on both sides of the border by working together.

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