Citigroup,owners of Banamex,said this week that the Mexican bank is "not for
sale". The head of their Latin American division,Manuel Medina Mora,told
Mexican Televisa television that the US government would most likely sell their
stake in Citigroup within two to three years. This would help allay concerns in
Mexico over foreign governments holding stakes in local banks.
Mexican government intends to change banking laws limiting foreign government
ownership of Mexican banks in exceptional circumstances,such as times of
Reuters news agency reported Mexican Finance Minister,
Agustin Carstens,as saying last Friday that Citigroup's Banamex unit is central
to helping Mexico through the international financial crisis. Carstens also said
he only expects a brief US government involvement at the bank.
quoted Carstens as saying,"I spoke to the US treasury secretary and he told me
very clearly he has no intention of becoming a banker again. On the contrary,he
wants to clean up those institutions and get rid of them".
on to say,"We have to recognize that foreign banks brought capital and
resources to our financial system when it was devastated,and now they're part
of the solution to our problem".
Citigroup paid $12.5 billion for Banamex
in 2001,setting a new record for such an acquisition in Mexico at the
The news was welcomed by bankers in Mexico,on a day when the
Mexican peso surged after the central bank's chief said Mexico is likely to see
through a $30 billion currency swap with the US Federal Reserve soon.