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Fintech investments a 'credit positive' for Mexican banks, Fitch says

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Fintech investments a 'credit positive' for Mexican banks, Fitch says

Mexican banks' increased investments in financial technology and innovation as a core strategy will support credit fundamentals in the medium term, Fitch Ratings said in a Dec. 20 report.

"Mexican banks are well positioned to absorb the near-term costs associated with greater fintech investment, which could lead to greater efficiencies, reduced cyber risks and new products and services," the credit rating agency said.

However, the rating agency noted that those advances could be delayed by an "expected economic slowdown, inflationary pressures, prevailing uncertainty and a sustained decrease in investor and consumer confidence."

According to Fitch, banks have been directing more technology spending toward online platforms in the form of infrastructure and IT buildout. Technology spending accounted for 4.8% of operating expenses on average for Mexican banks as of the third quarter of 2018, up from 4.0% in the 2012-2017 period.

Statistical data shows that big banks are mainly driving the investment: BBVA Bancomer SA in 2017 announced a $1.5 billion multiyear technology investment; Grupo Financiero Citibanamex SA de CV launched a four-year, $1.2 billion program; and recently Banco Santander (México) SA Institución de Banca Múltiple announced a $740 million investment over a period of three years.