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Although only a minority of its citizens have access to banking services, Mexico has a fast-growing mobile phone industry. The National Banking and Securities Commission has introduced a new concept – the mobile banking agent management company – and has set out a comprehensive system for branchless banking services.

The Movable Assets Registry facilitates the granting of loans to small and medium-sized companies, as many such companies do not own real estate and their owners are unwilling to use their personal property as security. The new registry will allow certain institutions, such as financial leasing companies, to offer loans in the small business market.

The Bank of Mexico has issued the General Guidelines on the Collection of Bank Charges. The guidelines aim to eliminate inappropriate practices in connection with bank charges, ensuring that such fees and the mechanisms for their collection are transparent and that charges are incurred only for services rendered.

An order modifying the General Rules Applicable to Financial Institutions is intended to encourage lending and boost the economy. Reassessing the role played in the banking system by guarantees from public trusts and similar entities has allowed the National Banking and Securities Commission to authorize temporary higher financing limits for development banks with such guarantees.

Amendments to the Financial Institutions Law aim to protect users of financial services by limiting the transactions that financial institutions may perform as commission agents. Other legislative changes require institutions to provide customers with the information needed to make investment decisions, and make them liable for damages and lost profits if they fail to do so.

The Ministry of Finance has published a new set of rules on money laundering to be adopted by commercial banks. The new rules are intended to create a modern regulatory scheme to combat organized crime and prevent money laundering through financial transactions. Among other things, banks are required to maintain a clear and precise customer identification policy and procedure.

The new Credit Union Law has introduced corporate governance rules that promote development and specialization. It has also established guidelines on prudent regulation and has expanded the range of transactions that credit unions may perform. The law will encourage the healthy development of the banking system, as new competitors will provide a wider range of services to customers.

Significant recent amendments to the Banking Law give the National Banking and Securities Commission sole regulatory responsibility for the supervision and regulation of the banking sector. Among other things, they also provide rules on setting minimum paid capital levels for full-service and limited-service banks.

The Ministry of Finance has published new rules on capitalization requirements for banks. The rules correspond to the Basel II Capital Accord and aim to introduce a more modern regulatory scheme which is more responsive to risk and follows the international consensus on the subject.

The National Banking and Securities Commission has published a set of rules which implement aspects of the Financial Services Transparency Law. The rules deal with adhesion contracts and advertising to customers of financial entities, imposing greater requirements in terms of transparency and protection of the public interest.

Pledges without transfer of possession were introduced into the Mexican legal system in May 2000, together with guarantee trusts, in amendments to the Commercial Code and the Law on Negotiable Instruments and Credit Operations. The pledges were unpopular with banks, but changes to the implementing regulations have helped to increase the credit available.

Congress has approved (but not yet published) the new Financial Services Transparency Law. The aim of the law is to give greater authority to the Bank of Mexico to regulate fees, interest and other charges imposed by financial institutions, including interchange fees. It also expands the scope of the existing law to include commercial corporate issuers of credit cards.

Financial and commercial legislation reforms have created the sociedad financiera de objeto múltiple, a new type of financial entity whose principal corporate purpose will be to grant all types of credit and carry out factoring and financial lease operations, free from the requirement of prior authorization from the financial authorities.

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