Citigroup Poised to Make Statement On Banamex Suitors

Mexico’s financial authorities will also release a statement of opinion regarding the purchase of the group’s Mexican retail banking unit

Citigroup announced the sale of Banamex, its Mexican retail banking division, on January 11.
August 10, 2022 | 10:20 AM
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Mexico City — Citigroup will likely issue an announcement soon regarding the potential buyers of Banamex, as the process of selling the group’s Mexican bank enters a phase in which some buyers will begin to withdraw from the bidding, Mexico’s undersecretary of the Finance Ministry Gabriel Yorio told Bloomberg Línea.

The sale of Banamex is advancing at the pace of the proposals being put on the table by potential buyers and as Citigroup evaluates them, Yorio said without giving further details because he is not authorized to do so.

I believe that they are already entering a phase where some of the buyers are going to start to withdraw. In fact, some of them have already expressed that they are not going to continue in the process and, rather, I believe that very soon there will probably be some kind of announcement from Citi, with respect to the potential buyers..

Gabriel Yorio, undersecretary of the Mexican Finance Ministry

Those still in the bidding are Grupo Financiero Banorte, Carlos Slim’s Grupo Financiero Inbursa, mining magnate Germán Larrea and Daniel Becker’s Grupo Financiero Mifel, according to Bloomberg News.

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Grupo Financiero Santander announced it was not bidding at the end of July.

Citi announced the sale of the entire retail business of Banco Nacional de México on January 11, which includes the Banamex brand, its branches, customer portfolio, payroll and cards business, as well as its mortgage portfolio, family and corporate credit business, insurance company, foundations, real estate, cultural heritage and retirement plans (known as Afores).

Yorio said the Ministry of Finance, the central bank (Banxico), the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) and other financial authorities are preparing to issue an opinion on the potential buyers, in accordance with the processes set forth by the financial supervision regulations.

“There are very clear moments when it is necessary for the financial authorities to issue this type of opinion,” Yorio said.

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Once the buyer is known, there will be an analysis of the retirement fund and whether the buyer already manages one.

Of the 10 Afores in the Mexican banking system, Citibanamex ranks third in volume, managing 9,886,528 accounts, according to a report by the national commission of the retirement savings system (Consar), as of end-June 2022.

Grupo Financiero Banorte’s fund, Afore XXI Banorte, has 8,578,727 managed accounts, putting it in fourth place by volume, while Slim’s bank’s Afore Inbursa has 1,092,759 accounts under management.

Yorio said that the financial authorities will also issue an opinion on the stability of the payment system that Banamex will migrate, that is, if the buyer is a bank that already has such a system, it would probably be necessary to analyze the migration scheme. And if the buyer does not have one, the authorities will review its core banking business.

Citi opened a data room in April for those interested in purchasing Banamex, and since then has maintained a behind-closed-doors process.

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