Bank of America today announced its free nationwide remittance service that is making it easier for millions of Hispanics to send money to Mexico by eliminating transfer fees.
Called SafeSend, the new feature is available to anyone who has a Bank of America personal checking account. Earlier this year, Bank of America became the first major financial institution in the United States to offer free remittances when it introduced the product in Chicago.
"We are proud to help millions of Hispanics send money for free to loved ones in Mexico," said Liam McGee, president of Global Consumer and Small Business Banking. "Adding the free SafeSend feature to our checking accounts is our way of saying that we want to do much more - we want to be their bank of choice and help Hispanics develop rewarding, long-term financial relationships."
Responding to Hispanic Customers
According to Diane Morais, Consumer and Small Business Deposit & Debit Products executive at Bank of America, feedback from customers propelled the launch of national free SafeSend, as well as the new enhanced capabilities, including cash payments over the counter and greater access via a network of more than 4,500 locations throughout Mexico.
"Our Hispanic customers told us that they wanted lower transfer fees, money to be paid in cash over the counter in Mexico, and a broader distribution network convenient to their family and friends. We listened and we responded with new features to our SafeSend remittance service," Morais said.
- SafeSend is now a free feature of any Bank of America personal checking account.
- Recipients will be able to pick up cash at more than 4,500 locations throughout Mexico through Santander, BANSEFI/L@Red de la Gente, TELECOMM-TELEGRAFOS and Banorte.
- Customers benefit from a highly competitive foreign exchange rate, and since there are no fees and no ATM cards required by the beneficiary to access their cash, the beneficiary can actually receive more money.
- Customers can identify up to three beneficiaries, and send up to $1,500 per remittance and up to a total of $3,000 over a rolling 30-day period.
- Customers are able to send money with one easy phone call, seven days a week, between 8 a.m. and 1 a.m. Eastern Time.
Commitment to Financial Empowerment of Hispanic Community
Mexico and United States Hispanic leaders applauded the bank's demonstrated commitment to the Hispanic community. "Free SafeSend's national expansion is another example of Bank of America's commitment to help hard-working Latinos save more of their hard-earned money," said Janet Murguia, executive director and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza. "But most important is the significance of helping this community take the first step toward achieving financial empowerment by establishing a relationship with a financial institution."
Almost half of all United States Hispanic immigrants send money regularly to their home country (Pew Hispanic Center). According to information from Mexico's Central Bank (Banco de Mexico), Mexico received $16.6 billion in remittances in 2004. This figure is expected to grow to almost $20 billion in 2005.
For Mexico, remittance payments from the United States are second only to cash from oil exports as a source of income. "We applaud the efforts of Bank of America as it delivers this much-needed free remittance service and continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to our community," said Ruben Beltran, the Mexican Consul General, Los Angeles. "Bank of America has recognized the importance of its Hispanic customers for many years and continues to address our needs, including sending money to support our families. We join Bank of America in challenging other financial institutions to follow suit and work toward a lower-priced or free alternative for sending money to Mexico."
Free SafeSend also demonstrates the bank's ongoing commitment to increase the number of Hispanics with checking accounts. According to a June 9 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announcement, more than 40 million Hispanics live in the United States, but half of that population - nearly 20 million Hispanics - do not have a basic bank account. Of the 43.5 million Hispanics living in the United States, 67.2 percent are of Mexican descent (Synovate, 2004).