Banorte Chairman Carlos Hank González said today the bank has joined a United Nations’ program to provide digital bank account access to refugees in Mexico, opening more employment opportunities as they seek a new life in that country.

He said Banorte, the largest Mexican financial institution, is supporting the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, with a digital account outreach to assist refugees in engaging formally in the country’s economy. That effort will help them find jobs along with other UNHCR services, such as education, training and housing searches.

“Providing access to a bank account strengthens community bonds and local job opportunities. Banorte is committed to do its part to assist those seeking prosperity in our country, and actively participating in the economic life of Mexico,” said Carlos Hank González.

Banorte is the biggest Mexican financial institution in the country to offer a digital banking account under the UN program.

Since 2016, the UNHCR has helped more than 18,000 refugees start over in several cities in Mexico, working as entrepreneurs and in formal jobs with benefits in factories, in retail and as managers – all contributing to the country’s economic growth.

The UNHCR said the program benefits refugees and asylum-seekers who are searching for or have jobs and want to live safely in Mexico. It’s also a win for the businesses able to add to their community and to expand the essence of the private sector.

Banorte’s digital bank account offer is yet another step forward, allowing the refugee population to access services quickly, securely and completely online, through 

“Banking is a fundamental element for the integration of refugees into economic life in Mexico,” said Giovanni Lepri, UNHCR representative in Mexico. “Having an account is a first step to encourage savings, ensure financial security and access credit products that improve a person’s quality of life. We hope Banorte’s example will motivate other financial institutions to join this integration program.”

The UNHRC said refugees need to be able to open a bank account to achieve their integration process. Most arrive and seek asylum in job-poor states in the south of Mexico. After enrolling in the integration program, they are relocated to one of nine locations in central and northern 

Mexico that have a higher demand for workers and better capacity to include newcomers in their education and health systems.

It also said the refugee integration program is supported by Mexican federal and state governments, and more than 170 companies in Mexico – which view employing refugees as not only being good corporate citizens but also maintaining good business.