Mexican Senate committees pass financial sector reform

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto addresses the audience during The Economist's Mexico Summit 2013 in Mexico City November 7, 2013. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo (Reuters)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A government-backed banking overhaul aimed at boosting Mexico's private sector lending won the approval of Senate committees on Wednesday, bringing the financial reform one step closer to final passage. Senators will vote on 70 specific parts of the bill on Thursday in the body's general session and, if no additional changes are approved, the bill will go to President Enrique Pena Nieto for his signature. Otherwise, it will be sent back to the lower chamber for an additional vote. The reform targets the conservative policies of Mexico's banks, which boast high capital levels but lend much less than their foreign peers. The proposal, included in a reform pact between Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the country's main opposition parties, had been in limbo for months due to a political spat that threatened to derail the accord. In May, Mexico's central bank governor Agustin Carstens said the financial reform could add 0.5 percentage points to growth in Latin America's No. 2 economy in two to three years. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Miguel Gutierrez; editing by Jackie frank)