Abstract

This article examines the creation and operation of the Banco Nacional de Crédito Ejidal (National Bank of Ejidal Credit), a bank that was founded to lend to ejidatarios, a certain type of Mexican peasant. The first part of this article argues that Manuel Gómez Morín, the architect of the Banco Nacional de Crédito Ejidal, sought to bureaucratize ejidatarios’ multifaceted and localized financial lives, disciplining them and channeling them away from their local communities toward national production plans set by governing elites, while using loans to uplift and moralize the peasants themselves. The article further argues that Gómez Morín’s ideas changed rather dramatically when put into practice. Administrators were concerned with the pragmatic issues of making sure ejidatarios amortized their debts appropriately and applied their loans to the crops the federal government wanted them to grow. Examining the ways that racial assumptions affected the conception and creation of the Banco Ejidal brings new life to the study of economic policymaking in Mexico and offers a new direction for studies of agricultural banks.

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