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Banks: Trust at risk

With thousands of millions of Mexican pesos moving every day online, trust is at the core of every transaction
Banks: Trust at risk
Bank of Mexico - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
15/05/2018
09:25
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Little by little, the banking industry in Mexico has progressed regarding infrastructure, allowing more Mexicans to have access to their products. Almost two decades ago, the operation of the now ubiquitous payroll card was launched so employees could be paid their salaries through them; if a banking institution fails to satisfy a client, it's easy for employees to switch institutions.

More recently, thousands of users have migrated to online banking and even mobile banking. Moreover, banking institutions have also added the so-called correspondents – small establishments or convenience stores accepting bank payments and deposits.

With challenges still ahead, there are thousands of millions of Mexican pesos moving online every day. Trust is a core factor in keeping current clients and gaining new ones. Thus, it's vital that the security processes of each banking institution comply with the highest standards.

This trust has been threatened in recent days. Yesterday, the Governor of the Bank of Mexico confirmed that the troubles with the service in recent days in some banks were the result of a cyber attack.

Previous information published by international news agencies claimed that over MXN$ 300 million had been stolen from several banks.

The anomalies began in late April at the Interbanking Electronic Payment System (SPEI, in Spanish) and still continue. Security experts have no doubts about this: the later an attack is uncovered, the greater the loss of money. Have swift actions been taken in this case? Account holders deserve to know when and which measures have been set in place to protect their economic assets.

System faults and anomalies in transfers do not contribute to increasing the use of banking institutions in the country – which is rather low. Despite there has been an increase in banking services (credit and debit cards, loans, mortgages, etc.), most Mexicans do not use them. Coverage is still far from ideal, given that until June 2016, only 72.5% of municipalities had at least one terminal for making deposits or withdrawal operations – more than a fourth of all municipalities in Mexico don't have access to one.

Using less cash and gaining new clients for banking services has undisputable benefits: corruption opportunities and informal employment decreases but the trust gained thus far can easily be lost with events such as the one happening in recent days. It's urgent that the full attention of the authorities focuses on this, lest we backtrack on

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