Basic and acidic ion exchange resins were used as catalysts for the synthesis of biodiesel from soybean oil and methanol. The impact of reaction parameters like molar methanol/oil relationship, catalyst mass and reaction temperature were studied. The catalysts did not show deactivation and the reaction medium remained neutral. The performance of the resins was compared against reference catalysts (NaOH; MgO). A strongly basic macroporous resin was the most active catalyst and it was possible to reach 100 % selectivity to methyl esters. A series reaction mechanism was consistent with the evolutions of the intermediate reaction products.