ProMex Group provides loans, savings, education and we support the formation of cooperatives. Loans are given in the form of village banks, solidarity groups, and small business loans. The relatively low interest charged covers the operating costs, so that the project is sustainable.
For the village banks (the primary approach supported by ProMex Group):
- Groups of 10-15 people are formed.
- Each person receives a loan to be used to grow their business.
- The only guarantee for the loans are the other members of the group.
- If one person does not pay, the others in the group need to cover that person’s payment.
- The groups meet every two weeks to make small payments, receive support, and basic business classes.
- If all of the loans are paid, everyone in the group can receive a larger loan.
- Loans start at US$200 per person and go up to US$1,000.
- Each loan needs to be approved by the other members of the group (since they are the guarantee).
- An ability to pay evaluation is also performed to insure the loans can be paid back.
- Repayment rate is over 98%.
- Savings is required during the 4 or 6 month loan cycle.
We are currently raising funds for three member owned coops: farming, bakery and brewery. The coops are being set up as sustainable projects. ProMex Group is providing the capital (through loans and donations) to buy a farm, bakery, and brewery and in time the coop members pay off the debt and own 100% of the operation.
Economic development for the Mexican border is needed:
- Hundreds of people die each year illegally crossing the border in search of a better life in the US – ProMex Group offers an alternative.
- Average income is low, for those fortunate enough to have employment (minimum wage is $5/day, median household income $4,689/yr).
- Costs are high (rent is among highest in Mexico; Mexicans who can, cross the border to buy cheaper products in US; water and electricity fuel expensive).
- Availability of credit is low and rates are high (10-15% per month with collateral).
- Many desperately poor people are here. They came looking for an opportunity (factory job or to cross to US). Many are from southern Mexico and Central America.
- Proximity to US (financial support, volunteers, market for goods, other resources, supervision, ease for visitors to see project).
Nogales, Sonora is located on the US-Mexican border, approximately a one hour drive south of Tucson, Arizona. The population is approximately 400,000 many came to Nogales from further south in Mexico and Central America looking to cross the border or work at the factories. Many Mexicans who cross the border illegally in Arizona are deported to Nogales.
Hermosillo is the capital of the Mexican state of Sonora. It is about a 3 hour drive south of Nogales. It has a population of just under a million people. The main businesses are manufacturing and agriculture.