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Banamex… Tzotzil for WTF??

5 March 2009

Being on the road,  I’m afraid my only real connection with the world of banking and finance lately has been trying to locate Santander ATMs in bus stations, and — in San Cristobal — standing in line with all the Tzotzil ladies who were in the “no account” line (I had a check from another bank to cash). I don’t know a word of Tzotzil,  but the language seems to have a rather extensive vocabulary for dealing with banks that have only one teller for the longest line of customers.

But, the big news out of Mexico — making a nice change from the usual “narcos behead another couple narcos and U.S. State Department craps its panties” has been the Banamex-Citibank story.  To review, the non-socialist United States government is buying a chunk of Citibank, basically to preserve the jobs and reputation of the guys who lost everybody’s money.

Citibank owns Banamex.  Semi-socialist Mexico does not allow foreign governments to control its banking industry.   SO…. while Citibank has been spinning tales of how the rules don’t apply to them (I guess they’re right, in that the U.S. government is willing to bend the rules of capitalism to benefit the capitalists).

Not so, say the Mexicans.  We don’t need no stinkin’ foreign government control.  They’ve been there, done that. And, no one believes anything said by the Citibank executives these days anyway.  The Banamex executives are already jumping ship to other banks.

FiNETEK, a Latin/Asian financial site, reports that while the likeliest Banamex buyer, Brazilian banking giant, Banco Itau is claiming it is not negotiating to buy Banamex.  More interesting, IXE, a Mexican group with good ties to the Calderon Administration (and partially owned by the Slim family) is trying to put together a deal whereby  Mexican investors would put up 30 percent of the buying price, with the rest of the funds coming from government loans… or from funds raised on the Mexico City Bolsa… or a combination of both… a sneaky way for the “capitalist” Calderon Administration to re-nationalize Banamex.

While you’re scratching your head over the difference between a capitalist government in a socialist country nationalizing a bank, and the quasi-socialist administration in a capitalist one doing the same thing, you can  keep up with the lastest twists and turns at Inca Kola News.

Personally, I think Tzotzil  is probably easier to understand.

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