NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mexican lender Grupo Financiero Banorte is preparing to hire 800 new employees to tap into growing demand from global companies moving their manufacturing operations to Mexico, its chairman told Reuters.
The bank, which is one of Mexico's largest and already employs more than 30,000 people in the country, needs to grow its workforce to tap into the so-called nearshoring opportunity, Chairman Carlos Hank Gonzalez said on Tuesday.
"We're adding about 800 people to our workforce to be able to capitalize on the opportunities ... 800 people that we're going to integrate just to be able to capitalize on the opportunities for nearshoring," he said.
Nearshoring refers to the trend to move production closer to North American buyers and away from Asia, where supply-chain snarls during the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed the region's low-cost advantage.
"We're already working with local governments in order to be able to finance the infrastructure that they're going to need in order to provide the infrastructure for Tesla or any other types of new investment," he added.
Tesla announced earlier this year that it would build a new plant in northern Mexico, estimated to be a multi-billion dollar project, joining a suite of other large corporations from the U.S. and beyond moving their operations to the region.
Mexico's top banks and the government alike are increasingly bullish on the country's nearshoring opportunity, with exports expected to soar. Nonetheless, analysts have also highlighted political issues and infrastructure gaps as key obstacles.
Banorte's chairman added that the new team would also be working with the small and medium enterprises supporting the companies setting up shop in Mexico.
Gonzalez also told Reuters on Tuesday that Banorte would launch a digital bank late this year or in early 2024 pending regulatory approval, and hoped to add about 3 million customers.
Rafael Arana, the lender's finance chief, said the digital bank already has 200 staff, which could increase to 600 and 800 after it opens.
A spokesperson for the bank clarified this would be in addition to the 800 being hired in the main unit to cater to the nearshoring trend.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar; Additional reporting by Valentine Hilaire in Mexico City; Writing by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Paul Simao)