SAN ANTONIO (Border Report) — The binational North American Development Bank, or NADBank, one of the first “green banks,” is equally owned by the governments of the United States and Mexico and only finances environmental projects on the Southwest border.

NADBank Managing Director Calixto Mateos-Hanel recently sat down with Border Report at his offices in San Antonio and explained how this nonprofit financial institution operates.

“We are a binational bank. We are one of the first green banks and we are a border bank and we are a not-for-profit institution so we actually provide projects for the border, the U.S./Mexico border, in the benefit of the population of U.S. and Mexico,” Mateos-Hanel said.

Both the U.S. and Mexican governments each paid in $202.5 million to capitalize NADBank, which began operating in November 1994.

(NADBank Graphic)

Since then, Mateos-Hanel said, the institution has been involved in 291 projects, including 140 in the United States and 151 in Mexico.

All projects must be located within the border region which is defined as 100 kilometers north of Mexico, or 62 miles inside the United States; and 300 kilometers south of the border, or 186 miles inside Mexico, he said.

The total investment of those projects is about $10.4 billion and NADBank has financed about $3 billion, Mateos-Hanel said.

(NADBank Graphic)

“We always bring other participants and banks. So we just see ourselves as just triggering these projects so that there is more projects available,” he said.

NADBank is headquartered in San Antonio, and although it isn’t part of the border region they drew hundreds of financial leaders from both countries, as well as government officials from throughout the border, who recently gathered at their headquarters for the U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Forum XXVI.

NADBank officials, like Mateos-Hanel, touted to forum participants the many projects they have financed involving water, solid waste and desalination plants.

And during the forum, on Aug. 24, Mateos Hanel and the governor for the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda, signed an agreement for a technical assistance grant to study water conservation and resiliency methods to help ongoing water issues in the state. García pledged $250,000 from his northern Mexican border state to match the $250,000 that NADBank has promised for studies to identify diversification and other water sources for the border region.

NADBank Managing Director Calixto Mateos Hanel, far right, and the governor for the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda, signed an agreement Aug. 24, 2022, in San Antonio, for a technical assistance grant to study water conservation and resiliency methods in the northern Mexican state that has been plagued by water issues. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

Projects that NADBank has been involved with span the entire Southwest border and include all six northern Mexican states including Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, as well as the four bordering U.S. states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Now, he said, they are entering what he calls “a new phase where we are funding a little bit more on sustainable development,” such as wind and solar-related projects, as well as water conservation, energy storage and air quality.

“Each of our projects have to have an environmental component and has to have an environmental value,” he said.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com