Acquisition of ABC, pending authorization / Maricarmen Cortés

At the end of this column, the CNBV, chaired by Jesús de la Fuente, had not commented on the sale of the ABC bank to the Argentine Ualá, chaired by Pierpaolo Barbieri, who yesterday celebrated the operation because it will allow him to expand his range of services financial institutions and announced that it will seek to revolutionize the market with more technology.

It was Ualá, a unicorn that has a market value of $ 2.45 billion, with 3.5 million users worldwide, who reported on the agreement with ABC Capital shareholders, led by the former CEO of Nacional Financiera, Mario Laborín, although did not disclose the amount of the operation.

Ualá began operations of a debit card in Mexico a year ago, an app with national and international acceptance backed by Mastercard and that can be processed via the internet. Having a bank will make it easier for you to expand your banking financial services and shows that in order to grow, fintech companies need to be associated or, in this case, buy a bank. As for ABC Capital, it has been in trouble for more than two years, exacerbated by the pandemic and the deterioration of its portfolio. Last November, Fitch warned about capitalization and delinquency problems at Accendo, which is already in the liquidation process, as well as at ABC and Finterra, which at the end of August had an ICAP of 16.37 percent.

At the end of last July, it had a capitalization ratio of 9.32% lower than the minimum required of 10.5% for multiple banking, but already in August, after a capital injection, it increased its ICAP to 14.47 percent.

ABC Capital claims to be a different bank, but its Achilles heel was to focus its portfolio on housing developers, especially low-income developers.

CANNOT OPEN NEW ACCOUNTS

One of the first decisions to be made by the new president of the CNBV, Jesús de la Fuente, will be to authorize the sale of ABC precisely in a context in which it is necessary to strengthen supervision of both banks and non-bank financial intermediaries.

What caught our attention yesterday is that, on its website uala.com.mx, the company reports that “they are updating the website” and that due to “regulatory issues” they cannot open new accounts in Mexico.

The CNBV did not report on this either, but there are 350 thousand clients who opened a debit account in Mexico who are initially affected by the “update” of the website, although Ualá informs that they can resolve their doubts in the app chat or by email.

KEN SALAZAR, FIRST CALL, FIRST

The US government had been slow to come out against the electricity reform initiative that will affect companies as important as Sempra Energy. However, yesterday on his Twitter account, the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, assured, without giving further details, that he held important meetings with government officials to learn more about the electricity reform and expressed his “severe concerns.” from the United States. He affirmed that he will continue with the dialogue, but it is the first time that there is an official reaction from the Joe Biden government on the electricity reform. It was time.

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