Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has expanded its ExpressSend remittance network through an agreement with UniTeller Financial Services, Inc., the U.S. money transfer company of Grupo Financiero Banorte (BMV:GFNORTE.mx).
Through this agreement, Wells Fargo will extend its consumer remittance payout network distribution to 9 additional financial institutions and alternative financial services companies in Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Peru, Philippines and Vietnam. Wells Fargo now has one of the largest number of payout locations for a U.S. bank-managed remittance service, creating added convenience for its customers and their family and friends.
"The diversity of Latino and Asian customers and growing demand for our service as a result of the Wachovia store conversions on the East Coast is driving our remittance network expansion efforts," said Daniel Ayala, Executive Vice President and head of Wells Fargo's Global Remittance Services. "By expanding our remittance network we are enhancing our customers' beneficiaries experience through a more diverse set of remittance payout channels and expanded hours of operation. Our goal is to offer a remittance service that is economical, dependable and convenient. Our new payout locations further enhance our ability to offer just that."
"ExpressSend is a very popular service in Florida, and converted states across the East coast," said Shelley Freeman, Regional President, Florida Community Banking. "The added payout locations reflect the countries where we've experienced high demand and growth, particularly with our Hispanic customers in the East coast."
Wells Fargo also is enhancing its current payment services in Mexico with Banorte as a result of this new agreement with UniTeller. Banorte is Mexico's third largest bank and one of the largest players in the payment of remittances. Wells Fargo's customers can send funds to more than 1,146 Banorte branches throughout Mexico, (open Monday through Saturday), which can be accessed by Banorte customers at over 6,200 ATMs. This enhancement allows for 24/7 processing of transactions to Banorte, allowing the remitters and beneficiaries to experience a more efficient processing of transactions and an improved customer service for both the remitter and the beneficiary.
"Wells Fargo's latest initiative not only expands its network but is moving ahead of the curve at a time when immigrants are seeking to use their transactions to increase the financial capabilities of their families," Dr. Manuel Orozco, Remittances and Development Program, Inter-American Dialogue. "The alliance with UniTeller, one of the oldest and well established companies in the industry, will bring migrants and families closer and add value to their transfers by offering alternative payment opportunities."
Wells Fargo added Guatemala remittance network member G&T Continental, one of the country's leading banks. G&T Continental is open seven days a week and has 297 branches and 494 ATMs. ExpressSend customers can send up to $1,500 a day for $7 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account ($9 if originated from cash). Remittance flows to Guatemala were estimated at $4.1 billion in 2010. Remittances are the principal source of foreign currency and equaled 11.4% of the country's GDP in 2010 (1).
Wells Fargo added Colombia remittance network member Bancolombia. Bancolombia is the largest commercial bank serving more than 6.9 million customers through the country's largest distribution network. Bancolombia is open Monday through Saturday and has 650 branches and 2,555 ATMs. Customers can send up to $1,000 a day for $7 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account ($9 if originated from cash). Remittance flows to Colombia were estimated at $4.0 billion in 2010 (1).
Wells Fargo added remittance network member Banco del Austro in Ecuador, which is open seven days a week. Banco del Austro has 75 branches and 210 ATMs. Customers can send up to $1,000 a day for $8 if originated from an elegible Wells Fargo account ($10 if originated from cash). Remittance flows to Ecuador were estimated at $2.3 billion in 2010 (1).
Wells Fargo added Honduras remittance network members Banco Atlantida and BAC | Honduras, nearly tripling the payout locations in the country. Banco Atlantida has 179 branches and 130 ATMs. BAC | Honduras (previously known as Banco Mercantil) has 98 locations and 643 ATMs. Both banks are open Monday through Saturday. Customers can send up to $1,500 a day for $7 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account ($9 if originated from cash). Honduras received $2.5 billion in 2010, equivalent to 18% of the country's GDP in 2010 (1).
Wells Fargo added Peru remittance network member Banco de Credito del Peru, doubling the payout locations in the country. Banco de Credito del Peru is open Monday through Saturday and has 328 branches and 1,287 ATMs. ExpressSend customers can send up to $1,000 a day for $8 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account ($10 if originated from cash). Remittance flows to Peru were estimated at $2.5 billion in 2010 (1).
Wells Fargo added remittance network member Metrobank, the third largest bank in terms of assets and overseas presence, and Cebuana Lhuillier, one of the country's largest alternative financial services providers in the Philippines. Metrobank is among the top four Philippine banks that receive the most inbound remittances. Both are open Monday through Saturday and 70 percent of Cebuana Lhuillier's locations are open seven days a week. Metrobank has 575 branches and 1,000 ATMs and Cebuana Lhuillier has 1,500 locations. ExpressSend customers can send up to $3,000 to Metrobank branches and up to $1,000 a day to Cebuana Lhuillier locations for $5 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account ($7 if originated from cash). Remittances to the Philippines for the whole of 2010 reached a record $18.76 billion, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier (2).
Wells Fargo added Vietnam remittance network member Vietcombank with 314 branches and 1,800 ATMs. ExpressSend customers can send up to $3,000 a day for $12 if originated from an eligible Wells Fargo account. ($14 if originated from cash). Unlike the other countries listed above, Vietnam is a relatively newcomer to the remittance stage. In 2009, Vietnam received a total of $8 billion in remittances and has been rising in double digits each year since 2000 (2).
Customers may qualify for a discounted fee based on their account relationship with Wells Fargo. Customers can send money by signing on to Wells Fargo Online®, by calling 1-800 -TO-WELLS or by visiting a Wells Fargo store location, making Wells Fargo the only U.S. commercial bank to offer all three channels for remitting funds.
1. Multilateral Investment Fund. Remittances to Latin American and the Caribbean 2010: Stabilization after the Crisis, 2011
2. http://remittancesgateway.org/ and the World Bank's Migration And Remittances Factbook 2011.