UPDATE 1-Mexico to help banks with dollar placement in blow to new central bank law

(Adds details on credit plan, quote from central bank governor)

MEXICO CITY, Feb 8 (Reuters) – Mexico’s central bank will begin offering credit to banks that have trouble placing cash dollars, it said in a statement on Monday, in a move that may spell the end of the controversial new central bank law.

The new mechanism by the central bank is nominally aimed at helping banks repatriate U.S. dollars from migrants and tourists, though it may also act as a compromise for the central bank bill going through Congress.

The new bill approved by the Senate last year was met with strong resistance from the central bank, which warned the ruling National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) that it could force the Bank of Mexico to absorb the proceeds of organized crime.

Since then, MORENA agreed to rework it in the lower house of Congress and some lawmakers told Reuters the party will sideline the bill as a new solution is sought.

Mexico’s finance ministry and Banxico, as the central bank is known, on Monday announced a series of measures to make it easier and cheaper for Mexican migrants in the United States to remit money back to Mexico.

Under the new mechanism, financing would also be given to banks having issues moving cash dollars back to the United States, with terms and conditions set by the central bank.

“(Facilities will be provided) to credit institutions that have justified difficulties to repatriate dollars in cash, through guaranteed contingent financing,” the central bank governor said in a video conference.

Mexican officials have said the new measures were a response to the central bank law, which critics say is a threat to the autonomy of the central bank.

The bill, which analysts say would mainly benefit magnate Ricardo Salinas’ Banco Azteca, will now have to be discussed in the lower house but is seen as unlikely to pass in its current form.

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