A group of community banks along Texas' border with Mexico will see years of planning and work pay off on Jan. 1 when the North American Free Trade Agreement goes into effect.

Banks in the border towns of Laredo, El Paso, and Brownsville, where most of the groundbased trade occurs between the United States and Mexico, are already gearing up for expanded loan relationships to the south. One bank in Brownsville is even hoping to open a Mexican subsidiary bank as early as next year.

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