Since Grupo Citi announced the sale of its operations in Mexico carried out through the Banamex brand, the markets and analysts have become restless. And is not for less. According to the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV), Banamex has 13.5% of the total financial market in Mexico, only behind BBVA, Banorte and Santander. This financial entity registered 2,152 different brands of financial products and instruments in the Mexican market from 2001 to 2016, according to data from Forbes Mexico, which cover insurance, savings instruments, loans, investments, foundations, social assistance, etc. Due to the above, BofA Securities considers that the current value of Banamex is around 15,000 million dollars.
Several reasons have been analyzed why Grupo Citi is carrying out said operation, the most apparent has to do with the global strategy that Citi has been managing for some years. Mexico is not the first market from which this company has withdrawn, since 2014 the company has left Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Australia, Poland and several Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. Another reason is found in the market loss in the last 4 years, going from second to fourth place in terms of market penetration, caused by the 4% global decline. Still, the decision is surprising because the Mexican market is the second largest in which Citi operates, after the United States.
Among the main financial agents, it is said that the main cause is the militarization of the sector due to the presence of the Federal Government, via the army, not only in economic activities but also through the Banco del Bienestar. Let us remember that through this bank the army can operate to a greater extent the resources of the municipalities, or the state governments. Just the market segment that is furthest from the financial activities of the main banks in Mexico. In addition to the above, there is the possibility that Banxico can manage the flows of dollars of suspicious origin that the Aztec Law attempted to achieve.
Which of all the hypotheses that are handled is the true one? There is no certainty about this, but what is certain is that the sale of Banamex will change the configuration of the Mexican financial market. There are currently several purchase intentions, for example, Santander, Banorte and Banco Azteca. If any of them manage to acquire Banamex’s assets, it would undoubtedly change the current competition.