Exclusive: Banca Mifel Seeks to Buy Banamex

Jesús de la Fuente, president of Mexico’s Stock Market Commission (CNBV) tells Bloomberg Línea that the buyer will be announced in November

Since Citigroup announced the sale of Banamex, the country's stock market commission (CNBV) has participated in a number of working groups as it will be the regulator overseeing the transaction. (Courtesy: CNBV)
March 29, 2022 | 12:45 PM
Reading time: 3 min.

Mexico City — Daniel Becker, president of the Mexican Banking Association (ABM) and of Grupo Financiero Mifel, is seeking to buy Banamex, and will look to form a group of shareholders to that end, Jesús de la Fuente, president of Mexico’s Banking and Stock Exchange Commission (CNBV), told Bloomberg Línea.

The head of the Mexican financial system regulator said that since Citigroup Inc. (C) announced its intention to sell Banamex on January 11, the CNBV has participated in several working groups, as it is the body that will authorize the sale.

However, there is still a lot to do in a process that is just beginning, Jesús de la Fuente said.

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In an interview following the country’s 85th Banking Convention in Acapulco, he said that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has asked that the buyers of Banamex be a Mexican bank, and the list of potential buyers can therefore be narrowed down based on this suggestion.

“Mexico’s president has asked that Mexicans be the ones to buy Banamex, and there are only a few banks that could buy it. There is Banorte, there is Azteca, there is Inbursa, and there is Daniel Becker’s own bank, which wants to form a group of shareholders to buy Banamex, a group of Mexican shareholders.”

Jesús de la Fuente, CNBV president

De la Fuente said he agrees with the president’s suggestion, and assures that it would be a positive thing, so that the payment system can be further stabilized with national capital.

Grupo Financiero Banorte, owned by Carlos Hank González; Banco Azteca, owned by Ricardo Salinas Pliego, and Grupo Financiero Inbursa, owned by Carlos Slim, are the other banks that have revealed that they are interested in buying Banamex, and analyzing the purchase of Citi’s consumer banking business, but so far Banca Mifel, through Daniel Becker, has not made public its interest in acquiring it.

During the 85th Banking Convention, President López Obrador reiterated that he would like the new shareholders or owners of Banamex to preferably be Mexican.

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“We only recommend in a respectful manner, it is no more than a recommendation, because it is a commercial economic operation,” he said.

De la Fuente explained that the CNBV is involved in important aspects in the process of buying and selling the bank, since it has to carry out studies into the types of clients that want to buy Banamex, and also on the origin of the funds used, since it will be this body that will authorize both the purchase and sale of Banamex and Citi’s new institutional license in Mexico.

He stated that it is estimated that the buyer of Banamex will be known by November of this year. On February 24, Manuel Romo, CEO of Citibanamex, said that it will be toward the end of 2022 and probably the beginning of 2023 when the buyer will be announced and the sale agreement will be signed.

“The bank will be sold by 2023, with everything perfectly defined, and by November of this year we should know who the buyer is going to be.”

Jesús de la Fuente, CNBV president

The president of the CNBV said that the sale and purchase of Banamex and the institutional license process for Citi as a new bank in Mexico are separate processes, but which are advancing simultaneously.

“They go more or less together, first there has to be the sale, the two processes follow different routes, one for the sale and the other to incorporate Citi. They are organizing themselves perfectly, so that by the time Banamex is sold, the other bank, which will be for large corporate business, will be up and running,” De la Fuente said.

AMLO, as the Mexican president is known, also wants Banamex to be bought by shareholders or owners who are up to date with their tax contributions.

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De la Fuente affirms that, although it is not yet known whether it will be a sale or a stock market transaction, what is clear is that the buyer will have to pay all the corresponding taxes.

“That is what we are going to take care of and monitor compliance with the payment of taxes, there is no other way,” he said.