EDINBURG, RGV – At a luncheon held by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Rep. Vincente Gonzalez spoke about legislation he is putting forward that will loosen bank restrictions on foreign deposits put in place by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez

Since its passing in 2010, Dodd-Frank has required banks to increase oversight and reporting of international transactions, including foreign deposits. This has caused a strain on many community and regional banks that have fewer resources than larger national branches. In the Valley, some banks have even closed the accounts of Mexican investors, adding to the downturn of Mexican visitors. This has concerned Valley leaders such as Keith Patridge, president and CEO of McAllen Economic Development Corporation.

Gonzalez hopes to address this with his forthcoming bill.

“As many bankers know, compliance is out of control. Our small banks, and even some of our larger banks, are no longer taking Mexican National deposits,” said Gonzalez, D-McAllen. “These are billions of deposits that get invested and reinvested here in our district, and we need to find ways to make it easier, not more difficult, for them to leave these monies in our community.”

Although the proposed legislation is in the early stages of being drafted, Gonzalez would like to see a program similar to the Trusted Traveler programs under the Department of Homeland Security, where prescreened individuals can cut through the regulatory red tape surrounding international banking.

“I think that we should … have them get vetted, maybe [by] a hybrid between Homeland Security and Treasury, and find out where they come from, and who they are, and how they amass wealth, and have them come into any bank in this country with that card and make whatever deposit they’d like without bankers and credit unions having to play cop,” said Gonzalez. “This puts the burden on the federal government to provide relief to banks across the region, allowing them to continue to secure these deposits for our region.”

Segueing from international banking to international trade, Gonzalez addressed the current state of NAFTA renegotiations. Saying that Texas has benefited more from the agreement than any other state, Gonzalez assured guests that it will more than likely be saved, with a few updates – a “NAFTA 2.0.”

“Are there things that we can improve? Yes. We have e-commerce. Back then, we didn’t have internet 23 years ago, so we need to incorporate that into the agreement,” said Gonzalez. “Maybe safer ways to transport goods and services across the border – those are things we can look at. But, in general, it’s a good agreement and we need to continue it.”

Expounding on his idea for a safer transfer of goods across the border, Gonzalez also spoke about his talks with President Trump concerning the border wall. Gonzalez says that he is pushing for the creation of a virtual wall, using technology, instead the construction of a physical wall.

“We talked about aerostats. We have six aerostats between my district and [Rep.] Henry Cuellar’s district that have a 40-mile vision – some of them even further – [that] can look across into Mexico, can gather intel,” said Gonzalez.

He continued, “I think a big, beautiful transparent wall through technology and aerostats, and censors and cameras, and maybe better infrastructure along our river would be much more effective.”

With many key policies to be decided on the horizon, the congressman asks that members of the community come forward now to have their voices heard.

“We’re going through an amazing time of reform that I think will probably happen in the next 12 months, and this is the time to give me your input, to talk to me, reach out to my office and educate me on issues that you’re an expert on. I’m counting on your help.”

Vicente Gonzalez’s Edinburg District Office:

2864 W. Trenton Rd.

Edinburg, TX 78539

Phone: (956) 682-5545

Toll-free Line: 1-888-217-0261

Related stories: