Sunday, January 14, 2007

Credit in Chacala

The credit thing seems to be booming around Chacala. After watching two repo men yesterday, as they went around town picking up unpaid-for objects, I started thinking about the changes in Chacala to do with money and credit.This is Jaime, who is starting to learn the real estate business,
apprenticing with Rodrigo,
who sells real estate in Chacala and Sayulita.

Like people using ATM cards. Often people who can't read the instructions on the ATM's screen. And who bring a friend or family member with them to do the transaction. That is very common.

I think real estate loans are really uncommon in rural areas like Chacala. But consumer bank loans seem to be getting more common. The banks do seem to offer loans for cars at 30% a year interest. Bancomer, the local bank, was bought up by Citibank or one of the other big banks a couple of years ago.At the Las Varas bank.
But they are still using Mexican banking practices. That is: terrible customer service, long, long lines waiting for a teller, incompetent staff, high fees and penalties for everything, and terrible interest rates. Of course, that's just my experience.My landlady, Dona Lupe, at her restaurant, Fonda de Lupita
Many adults who live around here only went to school thru the 4th grade or so. Few people seem to be able do more than very simple math. And even fewer seem to know how to use arithmetic to figure out things: like budgets, to itemize expenses, make a business plan, or figure out the true cost of interest.

Many otherwise saavy and seemingly intelligent people in Chacala seem to be buying things on credit these days. Or loans. Or signing up for Cable TV at $50US a month. I am afraid for them. And I hope they have not put up their homes or land for collateral for credit.

As far as I can see there is no education here in the schools regarding budgeting, the cost of credit or the cost of loans. It worries me a lot. I am looking for some agency that provides that service to rural communities. Someone in La Penita told me there is an agency that will come to a small town and offer quick classes about credit, budgeting, and so on. I think it’s really needed. I don't think this is an issue to do just with Mexicans, but it's related to social class and education and TV. And it's everywhere in the world, I am afraid.Marjorie, whose radio program
about the Techos de Mexico program in Chacala

will be aired on CBC in February.
She is saying good bye to Concha, owner of a Techos de Mexico rental unit.
Some local people in the area, not just Chacala, are selling their real estate, usually small lots, for much less than they seem to be worth. I hope I am wrong about this.

It feels like there are more and more people in Chacala trying to make big bucks off the locals or from the gated “community” next door. It seem really sad to me.A building being constructed on the bluff above the south end of Chacala

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