11 | DIC | 2019
Financial inclusion is key to eradicate inequality in Mexico
In Mexico, millions of people don't have a bank account - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL

Financial inclusion is key to eradicate inequality in Mexico

27/03/2019
16:36
EL UNIVERSAL in English/Gretel Morales
Mexico City
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The United Kingdom's embassy in Mexico, through its Department for International Trade, organized an event to promote financial inclusion in Mexico

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The United Kingdom's embassy in Mexico, through its Department for International Trade, organized an event to promote financial inclusion in Mexico, with an important emphasis on the inclusion of women, as well as the role FinTech companies are playing in the Mexican economy.

Financial inclusion is a priority for Mexico and the UK, as it can become a tool to improve people's lives by promoting investment and the acquisition of products such as insurance and savings accounts.

Corin Robertson, the UK ambassador in Mexico, explained that “in the United Kingdom, we are committed to contributing to the economic development of our allies. We believe that financial inclusion is key to improve the lives of Mexicans and to promote social mobility. Through technical assistance, as well as through sharing better practices, and mostly, lessons learned, we look to use bilateral cooperation mechanism reach this goal. All of these, always through a gender perspective, that allows the empowerment of Mexican women and to contribute to continuing towards a more egalitarian society.”

The experts who participated in the event were Leila Freidman from the Women's World Bank, Claudette Martínez, María Eugenia Butler, José Antonio Quesada, Luis Niño de Rivera, Pilar Campos form the Prosperity Fund, Gabriela Zapata, Miguel Díaz from the Bank of Mexico, Vincent Speranza from Endeavor, Carlos Marmolejo from Santander México, Hernán Fernández from Angel Ventures, and Jorge Ortiz from The Fintech Hub México.

For Mexico and the United Kingdom, financial inclusion is key. In the case of Mexico, it is a pressing matter, as millions of Mexicans work in the informal sector, therefore, they have no benefits, insurance or protections, and millions don't have bank accounts. Also, Mexico has a connectivity problem, as at least 549 municipalities in the country have no bank services, which worsens the problem.

Moreover, the most vulnerable sector are women, who are often discriminated, lack financial education, or are often confined to domestic roles that don't allow them to pursue a career.

In this sense, the experts agreed that the majority of financial institutions have ignored the specific needs of women and lack products designed for them. They urged banks to help empower women through financial inclusion. In the case of Mexico, where the wage gap between genders is considerable, it is key to implement new models and products that promote independence, economic freedom, equality, which are essential to achieving female empowerment. In short, technology and economy can improve women's lives.

Nevertheless, with the rise of the FinTech industry in Mexico, where at least 300 of these companies have been established, things could change.

The FinTech industry has changed the game and is here to stay. These companies could have leading roles in the bankization of Mexico, as technology could help to provide financial services to rural communities through a smartphone or gadget.

But this can't be achieved without traditional banks. Experts emphasized that banks and the FinTech industry need to collaborate to improve the Mexican economy and provide financial services for everyone by implementing new and efficient technologies, which have made the economy more competitive and dynamic.

Both Mexico and the United Kingdom are leaders in the FinTech industry, therefore, they are joining forces to share better regulation practices and identify opportunities to strengthen the commercial relation between both countries.

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