Relatives in U.S. illegally can back Mexico car loans

Ben Bain
Bloomberg News

Millions of Mexicans pay for everything from food to medicine with cash from relatives working in the U.S. Now, the money may allow them to get car loans in a country where a large swath of the population has no access to credit.

Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and its local financing arm said this month they will start granting loans to Mexicans who use their family in the U.S. as co-signers and who can show they get remittances on a regular basis.

The move makes credit more readily available in a nation where more than half of residents work in jobs that aren’t taxed by the government, making it hard for millions to prove earnings and banks loath to lend. Only 39 percent of Mexicans had bank accounts in 2014, compared with 94 percent in the U.S., according to data published by the World Bank in April.

“There’s a big number of potential customers that are untapped,” said Alexis Milo, Deutsche Bank AG ’s chief Mexico economist.

The lending program, known as “Sin Fronteras” (No Borders), gives Nissan, the nation’s most popular car line, access to potential customers at a time of soaring auto sales.

These funds have drawn the ire of Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner for president. He’s vowing to impound them as part of an effort to compel Mexico to pay for a wall on its border with the U.S. to prevent illegal entry.