Citi today announced that it has signed an agreement to be the first to pilot Workers' Remittances 1.0, Swift's new messaging framework for cross-border, person-to-person payments.
Citi will pilot the messaging framework with Ecuador-based Banco Bolivariano in October to facilitate remittances from Citi's New York branches to Banco Bolivariano's branches in Ecuador - one of the largest remittance corridors for the United States.
"Citi is highly committed to the microfinance space and has been a pioneer bank in remittances. Earlier this year we partnered with Banco Bolivariano to provide Ecuadorian clients in the U.S. the ability to quickly and easily send money home - helping bring Ecuadorian families closer together We've now taken the next step, collaborating with Banco Bolivariano to be the first to pilot SWIFT's framework for remittances," commented Francesco Vanni d'Archirafi, Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions at Citi's Global Transaction Services. Citi's leading remittance platform is channel agnostic, with the ability to accept a variety of formats and file types to send messages.
As the average value of remittances continues to increase, senders want to ensure that their money is safely reaching their destinations. The remittance market, traditionally dominated by money transfer organizations, is seeing increased participation by banks who can offer a wide distribution network and a safe, secure and private service.
"We chose Citi as our partner for remittances because of their significant global presence and remittance technology. Our partnership makes sending money home affordable and easy to do, with a high level of confidence that the funds will reach where they need to. Our clients can do this for only a $5 transaction fee. These benefits make Citi the bank of choice for the Ecuadorian community in the United States," commented Maria Gabriela Valverde, Head of Ecuagiros, Banco Bolivariano's remittance division.
David Pryce, Deputy Head of Americas, SWIFT, said, "We are delighted that Citi and Banco Bolivariano will be the first to pilot. Citi supported this development from the outset, actively participating in the SWIFT Workers' Remittances Advisory and working groups. We've been greatly impressed with Citi's commitment to remittances and microfinance. They get the balance right - treating these markets both as solid business opportunities and a means to further financial inclusion. It's great to see a truly global organization leading by example in this area."