The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, today announced its commitment to creating a financial platform specifically designed to meet the payment needs of non-profit, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the people they serve.
The platform, Western Union NGO Global Pay, will be created to help NGOs overcome the 'last mile' and bridge the gap between funds that need to be disbursed and the people who need them in the field.
Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO of Western Union, spoke on the opening day of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York to announce the company's new Commitment to Action.
"I am very excited by our new commitment," said Mr. Ersek. "Many NGOs face persistent challenges delivering money to those who need it most. Western Union® NGO Global Pay will help them overcome these challenges and get funds into the field safely and securely. It will be an end-to-end financial platform that will combine Western Union's innovative payment products with our unparalleled global reach, meaning NGOs will be able to reach millions of people with vital funds faster and more effectively than ever before."
Western Union NGO Global Pay will for the first time combine the dedicated business-to-business payment products offered by Western Union Business Solutions with the global infrastructure of the Western Union Agent network. Specifically, it will leverage the company's 510,000 physical locations to help connect NGOs to the people they serve in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
Mr. Ersek continued, "Western Union is dedicated to serving the underserved - which often includes NGOs - and we will continue to work hard to increase their access to better, more inclusive financial products."
Western Union will work with NGO partners, including the International Children's Fund and Peace International, to design financial products that will promote efficiency and transparency via:
- New capabilities for moving funds via Western Union's global network of 510,000 Agent locations, helping to solve the last mile challenge and enabling a more rapid response in times of crisis;
- A wider array of pay-out options (including cash, bank accounts, mobile phones, and prepaid cards) for nonprofits to send funds to their field staff and beneficiaries;
- Tools to help NGOs monitor and report on fund disbursement, enabling greater end-to-end transparency and accountability;
- Currency risk management solutions that can help shield NGOs from exchange rate fluctuations;
- A portfolio of products that will enable NGOs to receive and manage incoming funds in multiple currencies efficiently, including integrated invoicing and tracking tools and new donation fulfillment capabilities that offer individual donors the opportunity to give online or in person via Western Union's global Agent network; and
- Financial education for NGOs on topics from mobile money to currency exchange, helping them better manage scarce and vital funds.
- Western Union NGO Global Pay will launch with select NGO partners in November 2012 with further expansion planned for 2013. The product, which represents Western Union's new two-year Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action, will be fully in force by the end of 2014. It also builds on key insights from Western Union's successful CGI commitment, the Our World, Our Family program, a $50 million commitment to foster greater economic opportunity for more than five million people worldwide.