Mexico's president signs new banking reforms into law
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto speaks during the last day of the Mexico Business Summit in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Oct. 22, 2013 [AFP]

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday signed into law a banking overhaul designed to increase lending and boost growth in Latin America's second biggest economy.

The legislation is among a series of major structural reforms that Pena Nieto has pushed through Congress since taking office in December 2012.

"From 2014, Mexico will count on a financial system that, in addition to being more solid and robust, will turn responsible lending into a growth engine," Pena Nieto said.

The reform aims to increase competition between banks and encourage them to improve access to credit and provide cheaper rates in a nation with the lowest lending record in Latin America.

Credit to the private sector is equivalent to 26 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product, below the Latin American average of more than 50 percent.

Finance Minister Luis Videgaray said the reform will add 0.5 percentage points to economic growth.

Mexico's Congress has now approved reforms of the education system, the telecommunications sector, tax collection and a historic opening of the state-controlled energy industry.

[Image via Agence France-Pressse]