By MARK LORENZANA
Mexico’s Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (SCHP) ordered all federal agencies and entities to close their bank accounts that have been authorized by the Treasury of the Federation (Tesofe), particularly accounts opened in 24 private banking institutions in the country.
The SCHP order became official after it was published in the Feb. 15 edition of the government’s Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF), and gives all federal agencies and entities until the end of March to comply.
On Sunday, March 5, María Elvira Concheiro Bórquez, Tesofe head, said in a statement that the 24 banks that serve the Federal Treasury “charge us for operations more than what they give us in interests.”
Concheiro Bórquez likewise clarified in an interview with Radio Fórmula’s Ciro Gómez Leyva that the objective of the cancellation of private bank accounts was to “ensure order and transparency.”
“This is a strictly internal provision of certain accounts, not of everything that is handled in the federal government, which are also going to be reopened,” said Concheiro Bórquez.
The issue, she explained, was that there were old accounts from previous administrations, and that “accounts that are not in the single account of the Treasury, which are in the name of the dependencies, have to be registered by the Treasury.”
Concheiro Bórquez further clarified that “the Treasury has only asked the agencies to reopen the accounts they need and to close the old accounts from previous administrations.”
“The way to have order, transparency and avoid any misuse is the single account system,” she said.
The Tesofe head concluded her interview with Gómez Leyva by saying that the Mexican government has been “on good terms with the banks and, at the same time, reviewing many things in this administration so there is order, especially in terms of anticorruption.”
Columnist Javier Tejado, in an opinion piece for Mexican daily newspaper El Universal on Tuesday, March 14, called out the Tesofe for labeling private banks “parasites” that “live off public resources.”
“The Tesofe complaining that the banks reported profits of more than 200 billion pesos in 2022, practically implying that all this profit is due to the public sector, is something that is far from reality,” wrote Tejado.
Tejado also wrote that, on the other hand, private banks have more to lose when dealing with the government.
“In this new dispute between the 4T (Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s so-called Fourth Transformation) and the private sector, it seems to me that the banks are at a disadvantage and have more to lose, since they are not only facing an important client — the entire federal government — but they would also face their regulator, given that the government controls the National Banking and Stocks Commission (CNBV), with which the dispute (until now kept secret) can take any course,” wrote Tejado.
“Finally, the fact that Tesofe continues to depend on private banks and not on its own government banks, such as Banco del Bienestar, shows that the government is not even close to providing the service that it said it is ready to provide, despite already having 1,500 branches of the Banco del Bienestar.”