Mexican Currency Businesses in Jeopardy as U.S. Banks Step Away from Market

By Brian Orsak

The Mexican currency exchange industry will likely see a large number of mergers and closures this year after a number of prominent U.S. banks moved away from serving the market, say industry representatives and former Mexican regulators. Known as casas de cambio, these exchange companies have been increasingly denied service by U.S. financial institutions following several high-profile money laundering and fraud scandals. In the last year, three of the biggest U.S. institutions to serve the industry-Wachovia Bank, Harris Bank and Zions Bank-have terminated their relations with the Mexican businesses. Casas de cambio, which have long relied on the highly active...