April 18, 2004


To some banks, undocumented residents an untapped market (JENALIA MORENO, 4/17/04, Houston Chronicle)


No problema, some banks and lenders say to undocumented immigrants.

Banco Popular is one bank that gives undocumented immigrants home loans, provided they have an individual taxpayer identification number. Other banks will likely soon offer undocumented immigrants home loans, Banco Popular officials predict.

"It's not going to be long before a lot of people are out there tapping it," said Mike Carr, regional executive for Banco Popular, which is based in Puerto Rico.

Good credit and a job history are necessary to take out a loan, as well as abiding by the anti-terrorism Patriot Act, which requires banks to check the identity of their customers. But legal status in the United States is not.

"It's not my job to determine if somebody is here legally or illegally," Carr said.

The bank is helping an underserved market, he said.

"You take the underground economy and you bring it to the surface," Carr said.

Freeloading immigrants?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 18, 2004 11:10 AM

In California, I believe this change in banking strategy started when banks here began providing inexpensive and no-hassle wire transfer services enabling illegals to remit money to Mexico. The banks immediately recognized that the volume of money transferred created a nice profit even at a low per-transaction cost.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at April 18, 2004 7:54 PM