Senate Leader Wants Vote to Slash Mexico Bank Fees in Spring

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico’s Senate leader Ricardo Monreal said he’ll seek a vote on his bill cutting bank fees in the spring session starting next month.

"The bill will advance," said Monreal in an exclusive interview in his office in Mexico City, adding that he’ll send the bill to committee next month. "This is a social demand, a social necessity."

The bill presented in November helped to send the benchmark stock index to its lowest level in 2-1/2 years. It eliminates as many as 15 separate fees, including some charged annually on credit cards, as well as minimum balance requirements. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at the time he wouldn’t seek a bank bill in the short term, but Monreal, who is from the president’s Morena party, insisted he’d go forward with it.

Monreal said, however, that the legislation may change in committee. "We don’t want banks to worry too much," he said. "We want them to moderate" the fees they charge.

Monreal said the Association of Mexican Banks plans to propose lower fees at its annual convention, which usually takes place in March. He said he’d be interested to see their "counter-proposal" but that, currently, he’s not seeing enough commitment from banks that would lead him to strike his bill.

While Finance Minister Carlos Urzua has said he’s against a law to bring down fees, Tatiana Clouthier, the deputy majority leader in the lower house, told Bloomberg News this month that sooner or later a law regulating bank fees will have to pass.

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