The Mexican Consulate in El Paso hosts online financial literacy forums so its citizens can make the most of their time in the United States

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican consulates are doing their part to reduce the unbanked population in the United States, which has declined dramatically in recent years.

Consulates in El Paso and other U.S. cities will sponsor webinars next week and invite bank executives, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration officials to educate Mexican immigrants on the basics of obtaining the necessary documents to open bank accounts.

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“One of the benefits of having an account is getting credit to buy cars and goods in the United States, having your money safe, and sending money to (relatives) in the United States. Mexico, ”said Adriana Martinez, consul for community services in El Paso.

The Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation claims that about 5.4% of households in the United States were not banked in 2019, which means that no one in the house had savings or a checking account. This is down from 8.2% in 2011 and 7% in 2015. Hispanics and African Americans, however, have much higher rates at 12.2% and 13.8%, respectively.

According to the FDIC, half of adults who don’t have a bank account say they don’t have enough money to cover minimum bank deposits, which can be as low as $ 100. Others don’t trust banks or want to avoid paying monthly fees, but many, up to one in five, may not have legal identification.

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The consulate says a growing number of banks are accepting a combination of a valid foreign passport and the U.S. Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to establish bank accounts for foreign nationals.

“The ITIN can be useful for those who do not have a social security number. The (ITIN) doesn’t allow them to work, but they can use it for a business or to file income taxes “in the United States,” Martinez said. “They can also prove that they are in compliance with the (US) tax laws, build up a history if they have the ability to obtain residency or regularize their status in the United States. “

President Joe Biden sent Congress in January the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021, which would give temporary legal status and the ability to apply for permanent legal residents to undocumented people who pass criminal background checks and pay taxes. The bill, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey and California, remains pending in Congress.

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American Immigration Council says 4.4 million people residing in the United States have declared income taxes using an ITIN instead of a social security number in 2015, paying about $ 23.6 billion in taxes in total.

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The El Paso Consulate also wants to make it easy for Mexican citizens in the United States to open their own businesses and also bank accounts in Mexico.

One of the Financial Literacy Week program’s online forums (June 14 – June 21) is about how to incorporate in Texas and start an online business. A representative from Google will teach viewers online how to use the company’s platforms to buy and sell products on the web and market them.

The New US Economy in 2019 reported 3.2 million immigrant entrepreneurs employing more than 8 million people in the United States.

The consulate also offers to open bank accounts in Mexico using documents such as Mexican passport and consular registration card (matricula) at the state bank Banco del Bienestar (Wellness Bank).

The new social development financial cooperative is one of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s flagship programs and he hopes to have 1,000 operational branches by the end of the summer.

“It’s a safe place to send money to loved ones,” Martinez said. Mexicans living in the El Paso region can open such an account through the consulate and obtain a Bienestar bank card.

For a complete calendar of Financial Literacy Week online events, visit the Consulate website Web page.

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