If you ever wonder why Banamex, the No. 2 bank in Mexico, is so key to the fate of parent company Citigroup, I can explain.
My wife and I recently miscalculated and I wrote a check with insufficient funds on our Banamex account. The bank has been unable to provide me with a monthly statement since last August but they very quickly sent a note about the charges I had incurred for the overdraft: 642.72 pesos. That is more than $50.
According to this website, overdraft fees in the United States range from $10 to $38, with a median fee of $27.
Of course, Banamex is not alone in charging Mexicans far more than prevailing global rates. Look at cellular phone and cable TV rates, airfares from Aeromexico, or any of a range of services offered by companies with a strong market share. In Mexico’s sclerotic political system, politicians gain more by favoring powerful companies than average people.