Mexican gov't proposes bank reforms to spur growth

Mexico City, May 9 (EFE).- The Mexican government proposed a bank reform package aimed at spurring lending and promoting economic growth.

The package, which has the support of the main opposition parties, was unveiled at a ceremony Wednesday by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The initiative's goal is to get banks to "lend more and more cheaply," the president said.

Peña Nieto was joined at the ceremony by the leaders of the political parties that signed the Pact for Mexico.

Mexico has "one of the most solid and robust financial systems in the world," but "it is one of the ones that lends the least at the global level," Peña Nieto said.

Bank lending accounts for about 26 percent of the gross domestic product in Mexico, while the Latin American average is above 50 percent, Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray said.

Mexico's banks are "strong and solid," with capitalization ratios of 16.5 percent, well above the level agreed to under Basel III, but they "lend very little" and are "excessively conservative," Videgaray said.

Low lending mainly affects the micro-, small- and mid-sized firms that account for 74 percent of the jobs in Mexico but have access to just 15 percent of the loans, Peña Nieto said.