M-banking around midyear, says regulator

- Tuesday, April 5, 2011

M-banking around midyear, says regulator

Mexican banking and securities regulator CNBV expects during the northern hemisphere summer to receive the first requests from companies and banks to launch mobile banking services, according to CNBV head Guillermo Babatz.

"We expect the first of these products to be commercially sold before the year ends," Reuters quoted him as saying. "We believe that in the next two years, we will literally have millions and millions of new banking clients via these mechanisms."

While there are no specific figures on the exact number of bank accounts in the country, it is estimated that Mexico has one of the lowest rates of banking penetration in Latin America.

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Meanwhile, mobile penetration is estimated at about 90%. Mobile giant América Móvil's (NYSE: AMX) finance director, Carlos García Moreno, believes that regionally, there are 3-4 mobile customers for every bank client.

Domestic remittances currently cost about 50 pesos (US$4.22), Babatz noted, and "we believe with this mechanism, they will cost about 2 pesos."

Mobile companies have been in conversations with a number of banks, he added, and "the phone companies understood very quickly that in order for this market to work, it has to be interoperable."