WASHINGTON — A White House task force studying a broad array of U.S.-Mexican border issues has been asked to examine the barriers blocking Mexican immigrants’ access to banks and other financial institutions, an administration official said Monday.

“We should be thinking about ways to help documented immigrants have better access to financial services,” said the source, who did not want to be named.

The Credit Union National Association raised the issue at a White House meeting in May. In a letter to CUNA president Daniel A. Mica, which the association released Monday, chief White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey wrote that as a result of the meeting, “members of my staff, including Dr. Philippa Malmgren, have already started discussions with [CUNA] about how credit unions could help Mexican immigrants with their banking and financial needs.”

Mexican immigrants’ access to mainstream financial services has become an issue in Citigroup Inc.’s plan to buy Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival.

U.S. consumer advocates have urged Mexican President Vicente Fox to make five demands of Citigroup: a 1% cap on fees for sending money across the U.S.-Mexican border; no down payments on low-income mortgages; low-interest small-business loans in poor neighborhoods; corporate donations of at least $400 million a year; and equal employment opportunities for Latinos.

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