Millions of Mexicans who live in rural areas have few or no options to access basic financial services, a new report from the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) shows.
At the end of June 2017, 43% of Mexico’s 2,457 municipalities didn’t have an ATM, according to the commission’s 2018 National Report on Financial Inclusion.
Oaxaca, with ATMs in just 16% of its 570 municipalities, had by far the lowest coverage of any Mexican state followed by Chiapas with 58% and Guerrero with 62%.
However, across all Mexican municipalities with populations below 50,000, the figure was even lower at 10%.
In contrast, there are ATMs in all 11 municipalities of Quintana Roo and all 16 boroughs of Mexico City.
Many municipalities across the country also lacked other basic financial services at the end of June last year, the report shows.
Residents of only 42.8% of Mexico’s municipalities have access to what the CNBV calls the four financial service channels: bank branches, loan officers, ATMs and point-of-sale terminals.
The imbalance between the availability of the services in urban and rural areas is underscored by the statistic that 90.2% of Mexico’s adult population live in municipalities with all four channels.
Residents of 549 municipalities — 22% of the total number — don’t have access to any of the four channels, while a further 285 municipalities have only one of the four channels and 254, or 10.3%, only have two.
The combined population of the 549 municipalities where none of the basic services exist is just under 1.5 million.
“Mexico has a challenge in terms of technological infrastructure in order to achieve connectivity in the entire country. Sharing resources is necessary not just to achieve connectivity in all communities but also the provision of financial services,” the report said.
Despite the disparity in access to financial services, the number of bank branches actually increased by 2.4% to 16,945 between June 2016 and June 2017.
However, the branches are only located in 51% of municipalities, meaning that residents of the other 49% have to travel to a neighboring municipality — or farther afield — to find a bricks and mortar financial institution.
Source: Milenio (sp)