Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wal-Mart's Mexican Bank

Daniel Altman examines a new twist in globalization:

In the bad old days of globalization (some would say they’re still with us), companies from wealthy countries went abroad in search of looser regulations on the treatment of workers and the environment. Sweatshops and polluted water supplies ensued. But whoever thought a big business would leave the United States in search of a less stringent… banking code?

That’s what Wal-Mart is doing. The retailer plans to open a bank in Mexico to offer cheap accounts to underserved people, and presumably to anyone else who wants one. The Mexican government is allowing Wal-Mart to put branches in its stores, and it’s actually pleased that the company might spur some competition among local banks who’ve previously ignored potential working class customers.

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