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International Association of Money Transfer Networks established

14 January 2006  |  3431 views  |  0 Source: International Association of Money Transfer Networks

Leading money transfer networks and banks have launched The International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN) to increase the understanding of the role of this major and rapidly expanding financial services sector which until a recent World Bank report has been largely ignored.

Launch of the International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN)
  • Supported by leading money transfer networks and banks worldwide
  • Money transfer market worth nearly £250 billion a year globally
  • Trillions of dollars are transferred globally every year
  • "Send money home" remittances estimated to be more than double official aid to developing countries
  • IAMTN aims to heighten awareness of the money transfer market and aid its development within an increasingly regulated environment


Leading money transfer networks and banks have launched The International Association of Money Transfer Networks (IAMTN) to increase the understanding of the role of this major and rapidly expanding financial services sector which until a recent World Bank report has been largely ignored.

Global money transfers amount to trillions of dollars each year and while much of this is day-to-day business of large banks, comparatively small remittances sent by individuals are growing rapidly. Recent figures from the World Bank show this market is already worth nearly £250 billion a year.

The World Bank report identified the significance of "send money home" remittances to the development of economic growth, particularly in developing countries. The level of remittances that go direct to individual families is estimated to be two to three times the level of official aid to developing countries.

Recent regulation surrounding money laundering and "know your customer" has hindered the "send money home" market, with banks being unwilling to take accounts from money transfer networks on the basis that they do not know the ultimate customer. This has caused serious difficulty both in the US and the UK, despite the transfer networks being well positioned to know their customers. Among the issues that IAMTN will address, is the implications of anti-money laundering compliance on the money transfer service.

One of the principle roles of the IAMTN will be to make operators and customers aware and supportive of the main objectives of compliance in countering money laundering, while providing a lifeline to developing global communities.

Lord Lamont, Honorary President of the IAMTN commented: "Money laundering and financial crime are of real concern to us all. But this has to be balanced with the reality that the small remittance sender is hardest hit and the least likely to be an offender. The public good is not served by onerous regulations which can drive an important financial sector underground."

Amongst those already supporting the new organisation, formed in London, are money transfer networks including Western Union, Travelex, Unistream, City Forex, Earthport, EuroGiro, Chequepoint and the UK Money Transmitters Association. Among the banks include Standard and Chartered Bank, Bank of China, and ICICI Bank of India.

Mr Gagik Zakarian, chairman of Unistream, a leading Russian money transfer network said: "From Vladivostok to San Francisco there is now a growing awareness that we must all work more closely together sharing and understanding the needs of our clients, and recipients of the money transfers. There is a common cause among us all, which is why there has been such a positive response in launching the IAMTN."

Mr Leon Issacs, Marketing Director of Travelex stated: "Remittances provide a vital service for one of the key groups in the world today – migrant workers. It is essential that the industry players, large and small, work together to ensure that the customer has a choice of legitimate, efficient and cost effective services. The establishment of the IAMTN is a step towards achieving this."

Matt O'Donnell of Earthport added: "There is a need to decrease high transfer costs and unacceptable delays that occur in the remittances market. We provide a regulated service that does away with the existing high charges and replaces them with a cost effective and viable alternative which covers all angles."

Lady Olga Maitland, CEO of the IAMTN, commented: "We see our role as highlighting a major financial services sector which has been largely overlooked. Money transfers, and in particular the remittance market, plays a crucial role in the economies of emerging markets.

"We believe we should be harnessing everyone's experiences worldwide, to ensure a fairer, more just and cost effective service for all involved. We also take the challenges posed by the increased regulation posed by money laundering and will aim to share our experiences and knowledge with concerned organisations and companies."

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