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Citigroup to sell off Banamex, owner of historic Casa de Montejo 

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The sale of Banamex is sure to have major ramifications for Mexico’s financial sector. Photo: Courtesy

Multinational investment bank Citigroup has announced that it will sell off Banamex.

Citigroup purchased Banamex, the second-largest bank in Mexico, in 2001 in a multi-billion dollar deal.

Analysts say that Banamex’s profitability began to decrease in 2018 as a result of greater competition and the company’s failure to reform its overall business strategy. 

The news comes roughly a year after Banamex customers began to notice the closure of bank branches across the country.

Citigroup says the sale of the company will include its massive real estate holdings across Mexico, which are valued at billions of dollars.

Several financial institutions, including Carlos Slim’s Banco Imbursa, have expressed interest in purchasing Banamex, though no deal has been announced.

The sale of Banamex by Citigroup has caused concern among US Citigroup customers living in Mexico who are currently able to make ATM withdrawals from their Citibank accounts at Banamex without fees.

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Several Banamex locations in Mérida and across Yucatán have already closed up shop, including the bank’s largest branch in Centro. 

There has been a good deal of speculation about what will happen with Centro’s Casa de Montejo, which currently operates as a Banamex and also houses a museum, sponsored by the banking giant. 

Casa de Montejo’s museum remains open to the public for the time being. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Casa de Montejo began construction in 1542, the same year Mérida was founded, and was completed in 1549. It served as the official residence of the Montejo conquistadors in Mérida. 

The estate is one of the oldest and best-preserved examples of Plateresque colonial architecture in Mexico. Though several changes have been made to its facade over the centuries, its basic design has remained virtually intact.

Plateresque, meaning “in the manner of a silversmith,” was a Spanish artistic movement that appeared during the Gothic and Renaissance period in the 15th century.

The style reached its peak under the reign of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in the Iberian Peninsula and New Spain, now known as Mexico. 

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