DALLAS - Associates Corporation of North America said an affiliate has obtained the necessary approvals to open consumer and commercial lending offices in Mexico.

The Associates unit, Grupo Financiero Associates, owns five operating companies that will be providing various financial services in Mexico.

The Mexican market is "viewed as part of our long-term growth strategy," said Keith W. Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer of the Associates, which is owned by Ford Motor Co. "We believe we can build upon the experience we have gained through the years in our other international operations."

Mr. Hughes said those units have become "significant competitors in their markets," which include Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

A commercial lending office in Mexico City will initially focus on financing and leasing of equipment for the transportation, construction, and communications industries, the company said.

Mario A. Parra has been named general director for commercial lending operations in Mexico.

The first consumer lending office, in Cuernavaca, will initially offer personal loans; plans are for it later to provide mortgages and sales finance programs. Victor Vasquez has been appointed general director of those activities.

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