Guatemala: Multilingual Speaking ATMs

The installation of ATMs using Mayan languages has led to increased banking activities by indigenous populations.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The program, developed by the Rural Development Bank (Banrural), began in 2005 with 108 machines, and now has 420 multilingual ATMs, which as well as offering instructions in Spanish, can also cater to Mayan speakers of Quiche, Cakchiquel, Q'eqchi ', Ixil, Mam and q'anjob'al.

Sergei Walter from Banrural, explained that these cash machines have enabled them to offer financing to a population that previously only had access to local lenders, "who offered an efficient 24 hour service, but with penalties of 10 percent per day, which translates to annual interest of close to three thousand per cent ", whereas the bank charges 22% annually.

"The cash machines have been very well accepted, especially in the area of the Guatemalan highlands, where much of the population has limited access to everything," said Walter to Prensalibre.com.

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