Wells Fargo teams with HSBC to expand money transfer network in Mexico

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Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) said today it will create - through a new partnership with HSBC Mexico - what it considers the largest distribution channel among U.S. banks for consumer remittance customers in Mexico.

Wells Fargo said the partnership will more than double its current consumer remittance distribution network in Mexico, using Wells Fargo's InterCuenta Express(TM) product. The new partnership, together with Wells Fargo's other banking partnership in Mexico, creates a combined distribution channel of over 3,000 banking stores and 8,200 ATMs in Mexico. HSBC Mexico, one of Mexico's top five financial services institutions, has 1,400 branches and 4,500 ATMs across the country, offering customers convenient Saturday morning, late afternoon and evening hours.

InterCuenta Express(TM) enables Wells Fargo customers to send money to friends and family in Mexico through a greatly expanded network of branches, ATMs, and extended banking hours.

InterCuenta Express(TM), created in 1995, is an account-to-account product that allows customers to send money from their Wells Fargo account directly to their beneficiary's account in Mexico.

"This new partnership with HSBC Mexico is an excellent opportunity to provide greater distribution choice, value, security and service to our customers," said Daniel Ayala, head of Wells Fargo Cross Border Payments. "HSBC's experience in the global market provides a strong complement to our existing distribution network."

"HSBC has been very serious about its participation in the electronic money transfer market ever since we acquired Bital in November of 2002," said Sandy Flockhart, president and CEO of HSBC Mexico. "Having branches and ATMs across both urban and rural Mexico, as well as our earlier opening hours, is a convenience our customers perceive as a great service value. That is reflected in the growth of our market share, which has almost doubled, from 6.5 percent to 11.4 percent, in less than a year."

InterCuenta Express(TM) allows customers to safely and conveniently transfer money to Mexico through multiple channels, including phone, store visit, ATM, and Online Banking. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo increased its daily remittance limit from $1,000 to $3,000. This latest partnership reaffirms Wells Fargo's commitment to provide products and services that meet the financial services needs of the Hispanic community.

Wells Fargo has a longstanding history of pioneering innovative products and services for the Hispanic community. Two years ago, Wells Fargo was the first financial services company in the U.S to promote the matricula card as an acceptable form of identification for new account openings. Since then the number of accounts Wells Fargo has opened using the matricula has surpassed 400,000.

"The agreement between Wells Fargo and HSBC Mexico strengthens bi-national ties between Mexican and American banks and grants new momentum to collaborative financial relations," said Ruben Beltran, the Consul General of Mexico in Los Angeles. "This partnership also creates a significant network of financial distribution that will facilitate access to banking services for Mexican families."

According to a recent study by the Inter-American Dialogue, consumer remittances to Mexico exceeded $14 billion in 2003 and have surpassed foreign direct investment in Mexico.

Wells Fargo's partnership with HSBC on InterCuenta Express (TM) complements the strong relationship between the two companies. An equity joint venture between Wells Fargo and HSBC, The Trade Bank, has provided cross-border finance solutions to Wells Fargo's business clients for over 8 years through banking offices in 79 countries and territories.

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