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Mexico's banking association rules out a general agreement on lower banking fees

The Mexican banking association, ABM, has ruled out an across-the-board agreement among banks and legislators to lower banking fees and commission, claiming that any such deal would violate competition regulations, El Economista reported.

Speaking at a banking convention in the Mexican city of Acapulco, ABM chief Marcos Martínez Gavica said a marketwide fee deal would effectively lead Mexico's watchdog Cofece to sanction banks for fixing prices that should be determined by competition.

However, the banking association head noted that banks should still seek better conditions for their clients. "We are talking conceptually of what measures can be taken so that clients are benefited more than they are today, so that the legislators are reassured that they have done their work and that they have protected those who should be," he reportedly said.

The comments come as legislators of the Morena party are reportedly working toward an agreement on banking fee regulations with financial system stakeholders and regulators. Earlier in the week, Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV CEO Marcos Ramírez Miguel said that a draft had been completed and likely would be announced during the convention, which ends March 22.

The issue has sparked debate in recent months after a member of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's party proposed to force the elimination of certain commissions charged by banks.

Local bank stocks took a hit after the proposal, and 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."