Source: Bank of America
Consumers will be able to send money to Mexico for less than ever because Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) announced today it is eliminating remittance fees and foreign exchange fees in Chicago through its SafeSend service as part of a national rollout to be completed by year-end.
It is the first major financial institution in the United States to take such significant steps in the remittance market. For customers in Chicago who use SafeSend - effective immediately with a Bank of America checking account, elimination of 3% foreign exchange fee and $10 transfer fee; national rollout of free remittance to be completed during 2005 For customers nationwide who use SafeSend - effective immediately with a Bank of America checking account, elimination of 3% foreign exchange fee and reduced transfer rate from $10 to $8 for remittances up to $1,500
"Our goal in eliminating fees is to help millions of customers send money for free quickly and easily to friends and family in Mexico," said Liam McGee, president of Consumer and Small Business Banking at Bank of America. "Our customers have identified this need, and we are responding."
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The announcement is significant because of the amount of money sent to Mexico every year. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said U.S. consumers sent $13.9 billion to Mexico in 2003 through remittances.
"We congratulate Bank of America on this bold step and for its commitment in eliminating fees of its remittance service, which offers savings to our countrymen and women sending money to their loved ones," said Carlos Manuel Sada Solana, the Mexican Consul General, Midwest. "Bank of America continues to listen to its customers."
"Remittances to Mexico and the fees charged have been an issue we've been discussing for some time," said Janet Murguia, executive director and chief operating officer of the National Council of La Raza. "The elimination of fees is a great benefit to those hardworking immigrants who save their money to provide for families back home."
Bank of America has relationships with 44 percent of Hispanic households in its coast-to-coast territory. In 2004, the bank opened more than 1 million checking accounts for Hispanic customers.
Bank of America is building half of its new stores in areas to serve Hispanic neighborhoods. The bank also is actively recruiting bilingual associates - of all new hires in stores, nearly half are bilingual and 68% of those speak Spanish. Bank of America also provides Spanish information and services online.