Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president. Photo by Eneas De Troya courtesy Truthdig.
PBI Chair Ellen Brown writes in Truthdig on the dramatic economic transformation taking place in Mexico — led by an explosion of public banks — following Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known as AMLO) and his left-wing coalition’s landslide win in Mexico’s 2018 general election.
“While U.S. advocates and local politicians struggle to get their first public banks chartered, Mexico’s new president has begun construction on 2,700 branches of a government-owned bank to be completed in 2021, when it will be the largest bank in the country. At a press conference on Jan. 6, he said the neoliberal model had failed; private banks were not serving the poor and people outside the cities, so the government had to step in.”
“[AMLO] said: ‘We’ve arrived here [in government] after telling the people that the neoliberal economic policy was going to change.‘
“López Obrador’s goal, he says, is to construct a ‘new paradigm’ in economic policy that improves human welfare, not just increases gross domestic product.
“To deliver on that promise, in July 2019 AMLO converted the publicly owned federal savings bank Bansefi into a ‘Bank of the Poor’ (Banco del Bienestar or ‘Welfare Bank’). He said on Jan. 6 that the neoliberal era had eliminated all the state-owned banks but one, which he had gotten approval to expand with 2,700 new branches. Added to the existing 538 branches of the former Bansefi, that will bring the total in two years to 3,238 branches, far outstripping any other bank in the country. (Banco Azteca, currently the largest by number of branches, has 1,860. … His goal [is] for the Bank of the Poor to reach 13,000 branches, more than all the private banks in the country combined.”