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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spanish banking giant BBVA has decided to exit the U.S. market. It remains the owner of BBVA Bancomer, the largest bank in Mexico.

Why it matters: In the 2000s, BBVA went on something of a spending spree in Texas and other border states, buying up a series of banks culminating in the $9.6 billion acquisition of Compass Bancshares in 2007.

  • It was the high point of North American globalization, and it was reasonable to envisage the continent's economies converging, much like Europe's, especially near the border.
  • BBVA is no longer as optimistic, has now agreed to sell all of its U.S. holdings to PNC for $11.6 billion.

Among the casualties of BBVA's strategic retreat from the U.S.: Tuyyo, an innovative mobile app that allowed Mexicans in the U.S. to send money back to their families for free.

  • The funds could be withdrawn any time at any Bancomer ATM, just with a code — no ATM card needed.
  • Tuyyo was quietly shuttered last year.

The bottom line: The net flow of migrants from Mexico to the U.S. — part of the reason for BBVA to expand from Mexico to Texas — turned negative about 15 years ago, and has remained that way ever since.

  • Strong supply chains still bind the two countries. But if you want to find a part of the world where regional integration is getting visibly stronger, then you would not look first to North America or Europe. Asia and Africa are much better bets on that front.

Go deeper

Cuomo: "I am not going to resign"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday for acting in a way that made women feel "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he will not resign.

Driving the news: Cuomo reiterated in his first public appearance since sexual harassment allegations surfaced that he will fully cooperate with a team of independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, but suggested that demands for his resignation from were simply "politics."

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
48 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.