Thursday, November 5, 2009

Celebrating the Victory

In honor of Michael Bloomberg's not-quite-a-landslide victory, let's take a look at a Mexico story from Bloomberg:
Wal-Mart de Mexico SAB, Latin America’s largest retailer, will be a competitor to Mexico’s banks “relatively quickly,” said Guillermo Babatz, president of the National Banking and Securities Commission.

Walmex, as the retailer is known, received approval to offer banking services in its stores last month under a so- called correspondent license that enables third parties to take deposits and cash paychecks. Ten companies, including some of Mexico’s largest lenders, have also applied for the license, Babatz said in an interview at his Mexico City office.

“It’s evident that there is substantial interest among the country’s most important banks to establish a network of correspondents,” Babatz said. “Banco Wal-Mart has an important base from which to expand relatively quickly as a retail bank.”
One of the (channeling Vincent Vega) little differences between Mexico and the US that has always amused me is the generalized view toward Wal-Mart. In Mexico, Wal-Mart's abusive practices toward their employees get zero publicity (either because company is less abusive in Mexico or, more likely, said practices just don't stand out that much), the nationalist resentment stemming from its outsized market share --it's the biggest retailer in the nation-- is rather limited (although Soriana has at times encouraged customers to support Mexico by shopping there), and Wal-Mart's chic quotient is much higher, which is to say that it actually exists in Mexico. But I don't think it's only a matter of embracing the exotic, because every Mexican I've known who's visited a Wal-Mart in the States has come back surprised at how much uglier they are in the States.

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