by Jim Nintzel
On Feb. 10, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, called for a hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to examine the banks’ pullout from states bordering Mexico. More locally, a Nogales delegation spoke at the Arizona Senate’s Financial Institutions Committee on Feb. 4.
The senators’ request came after several large banks reduced or eliminated their branches in Nogales and elsewhere along the border in recent years. In Nogales, Banamex USA, a subsidiary of Citigroup, closed its branch, while JP Morgan Chase closed one of its branches, and Bank of America pulled out entirely. In addition, Chase closed about 2,500 commercial accounts in Mexico in 2013.
Owners of cash-intensive businesses have expressed “serious concern” about the bank closures, McCain and Flake wrote to the senate committee on Feb. 10, citing “burdensome regulatory compliance costs and the potentially indiscriminate application of anti-money laundering regulations.”