Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Hosts De-Risking Roundtable

Congressmen Vargas and Hurd co-hosted event attended by representatives from U.S. and Mexican public and private sectors

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WASHINGTON, October 1, 2015 | Riley Brands ((202) 226-0507) | comments
Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) hosted a roundtable Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue of bank closures, or de-risking, in communities along the border. Representatives from both the U.S. and Mexico attended as well as Congressmen Juan Vargas (D-CA-51) and Will Hurd (R-TX-23).

Banks in already underserved border communities have been closing at a critical rate. For example, 17 percent of banks have closed in Laredo, Texas, recently. In Calexico, Calif., 80 percent have closed; in San Ysidro, Calif., 50 percent; in Nogales, Ariz., 29 percent; and in El Paso, 13 percent. The reasons for these closings appear to be economic circumstances and costly anti-money laundering regulations.

The following people participated in the event:

·         Congressmen Cuellar, Vargas and Hurd

·         Jason Wells, Executive Director of the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce

·         Russ Jones, Gary Wyatt, Noe Garcia and Raymond Castillo of the Border Trade Alliance

·         Paola Avila, Vice President of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce

·         Bridget McGovern, Vice President of External Relations and Associate General Counsel at MoneyGram International

·         Suresh Ramamurthi, Chairman of CBW Bank

·         Margaret Liu, Senior Vice President of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors

·         Kelly Goulart, Regulatory Compliance Manager for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas

·         Rob Rowe, Vice President and Associate Chief Counsel for Regulatory Compliance of the American Bankers Association

·         Joan Gregory Saenz, Vice President of the American Bankers Association

·         Luis Nino and Jose Alberto Balbuena of the Mexican Bank Association

·         Dr. Lorena Martinez Trigueros, Director General of Payment Systems and Corporate Services for the Mexican Central Bank

·         Narciso Campos, Head of Banking, Securities and Savings Unit for the Mexican Ministry of Finance

·         Daniel Glaser, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the U.S. Department of the Treasury

·         Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

·         Maureen Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the Department of Commerce

The discussion allowed border community, banking and government representatives the opportunity to bring up issues and potential solutions regarding bank closures along the border.

“It’s great we had this opportunity to discuss de-risking with representatives from the public and private sectors from both the U.S. and Mexico,” Congressman Cuellar said. “Our border communities are the lifeblood of trade between our two nations, and these communities need access to competitive banking services.”

Congressman Hurd, one of the co-hosts, highlighted the effect of over-regulation on the border banking community.

“Cross-border trade and commerce is critical, and we should be looking at ways to increase, not hamper it,” Hurd said. “While we must look for ways to counter illegal activities, we must also be cognizant of the unintended consequences over-regulation has on our local communities. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, constituents, stakeholders and the administration to find ways to promote safety and economic growth.”

One of the key players in the discussion surrounding bank de-risking has been the Border Trade Alliance. The alliance, a business organization advocating and supporting international trade in the U.S. southwest border region, sent its president, Noe Garcia, to represent the organization.

“The Border Trade Alliance is extremely grateful to U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar for hosting our delegation yesterday,” Garcia said. “Reps. Cuellar, Vargas and Hurd have all shown great leadership by bringing together government, private sector and border community experts to help us find solutions to deal with the border banking crisis.”

The participants from the public and private sectors on both sides of the border will take what they learned from the roundtable and use it to further their discussions on how to keep open access to credit in banks along the border.

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