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Mexican banks reach preliminary agreement to reduce fees, Banorte CEO says

Mexican banks have reached a preliminary agreement on a possible reduction of fees and commissions, an issue that has sparked ample debate in recent months, Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV CEO Marcos Ramírez Miguel said in an interview with Notimex.

The executive told the news agency that details of the agreement will likely be announced at a banking convention scheduled for March 21 and March 22. He said that while banks cannot stop charging commissions, these fees can be regulated to make them more competitive. The use of technology will also help reduce such charges, he added.

"We reached a first draft, the first agreements that will be announced ... which are sensible, according to the market and in which everyone plays their role, the banks on their side, the authorities and legislators on theirs," Ramírez Miguel was quoted as saying.

His comments follow a recent controversy that arose when Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's party proposed to scrap certain commissions charged by banks. Local bank stocks were hit hard when the proposal was announced, although the president later distanced himself from the plan, saying the "government's position is not to promote reform initiatives that may generate distrust in investors."

In his interview, Ramírez Miguel said he feels "very comfortable" with the government, adding that social programs supported by Lopez Obrador's administration will help boost financial inclusion in the country.