Mérida, November 10th (Venezuelanalysis.com). The number of Communal Bank Terminals (Tbcom) throughout Venezuela will be increased to 200 by the end of the year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced this week.
The Tbcom initiative, launched in August 2010, is aimed at providing access to communities and individuals previously excluded from banking and financial services, with 105 terminals installed during the first year.
Chavez referred to the move as part of a growing process of “popular banking...in the neighbourhoods and towns [of Venezuela]”.
The terminals are installed within the community and work in conjunction with the “communal bank card” service, which facilitates purchases at state run community food stores and supermarkets in order to promote community economies and communal organisation. Both the communal cards and terminals are provided by the nationalised Bank of Venezuela.
The Tbcom program allows access to deposits, withdrawals, transfers, the paying of household bills, and provides loans to small businesses. The program also offers financial education programs to organised communities on how to manage money and savings, with 3000 people benefiting from this so far.
“The Tbcom is a reality only possible in revolution, in the socialist vision we also incorporate the teaching of how to use bank services in an efficient manner that brings the greatest sum of happiness to the Venezuelan people”, stated Rodolfo Marco Torres, Venezuelan minister for the Public Bank, on the Tbcom’s first anniversary in August this year.
The announced expansion was made on Monday after a meeting between Hugo Chavez and Brazilian chancellor Antonio Patriota in Caracas. The program is a joint initiative between the Bank of Venezuela and the Caixa Federal Bank of Brazil.
During the meeting, bilateral accords were strengthened between the two countries in the areas of agriculture, industrial and scientific development, technology, banking, and social development to reduce poverty.
Brazil also agreed to support Venezuela’s new mass housing mission through two projects for rural and rented housing, with Patriota commenting “we are committed to supporting the development of Venezuela”.
Chavez also highlighted the deepening commercial and political relations between the two countries, stating “technological and industrial cooperation...will continue growing between Venezuela and Brazil...we will continue strengthening the Bolivarian alliance, Petrocaribe [joint oil exploration], and the Bank of the South”.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is also set to visit Venezuela on 2 and 3 December to participate in the Summit of the Community of Latin American States (CELAC).