THE TEN MOST IMPORTANT NEWS OF THE MT INDUSTRY FOR 2014

As I did for 2013, I have put together the 10 most important news stories for the Money Transfer Industry in 2014, as a way to reflect back and at the same time analyze the trends for the coming year. They are not necessarily in order of importance. They are based on my personal opinions and ideas from friends and colleagues in the industry.

If you want to read it from a PDF, view it | download it from here

If I miss something of importance or if you have any type of comment, please do it in LinkedIn. We would love to hear you opinion. Please go to our Linkedin Group following this link: http://linkd.in/WiQVFa and it will take you directly to the discussion.

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr

Details

Bank Discontinuance, the G20 and the taxing of remittances

Bank Discontinuance of MTOs in Australia has been in the news for a couple of weeks and all the small and medium sized companies in the country are being forced to shutdown because all the major banks have been closing their accounts and letters of discontinuance have been sent to the 5,000+ MTOs in the country*. This is just another round in a worldwide problem.
You can read several articles on the situation in Australia; check this one http://bit.ly/1uQctHe for example)
MTOs have launched the Remittance and Currency Providers Association, ARPAC, to represent them and to look for ways to get government support and find solutions (see http://ab.co/1xQlj9Z). We praise their effort. The UKMTA association lead the industry’s effort in UK when the Barclay’s situation came up in UK in 2013 (http://bit.ly/1toUhPp).

Details

HOW TELCOS, MTOS AND BANKS COULD CRASH OVER REMITTANCES

Incumbents such as Western Union and MoneyGram do it. Traditional players do it. So, still, do some banks. And Telcos do too in some markets. The “it” is enable people to move money to each other in and between countries. Hugo Cuevas-Mohr shares insights gleaned from his work with money transfer professionals from all over the world about the remittance market, the role of traditional players, banks and telcos and who has the edge as this $500 billion industry evolves.

The following are the questions and answers provided by Hugo Cuevas-Mohr when interviewed by PYMNTS.com over his document “Are Telcos, Money Transfer Companies (MTOs) and Banks on a collision course over remittances?” (The document can be downloaded from there).
Click the questions below to open the answers. Please give us your comments and join the conversation here.

Details

FINCEN Director’s Remarks 8/12/2014

FINCEN Director’s Remarks at AML Conference on August 12, 2014

Remarks of Jennifer Shasky Calvery, Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic AML Conference in Washington, DC on August 12, 2014

I have extracted a large section of FINCEN’s Director remarks a week ago at this compliance conference, because I feel it is important that everyone in the industry reads the message that FINCEN is sending to Banks with respect to banking MSBs, in our case Money Transfer Companies. If you still have a Banking Account is important that you share this message with their Compliance Team (a formal letter with the attached pdf highlighting some parts of the remarks) and even set-up a meeting to talk about the issue and ask what else you can do, as a company, for the bank to feel confident of your ever improving compliance practices.
Hugo Cuevas-Mohr

Details

Cross Border Currency Exchange: The US-Mexico Border

The Background
A key feature of the international financial system over at least the last decades has been the large expansion of cross-border financial transactions. This expansion is very noticeable in border regions since people and businesses at both sides of the border try to benefit from advantages on one side or the other. Cross-border transactions have grown significantly and US northern and southern borders are no exception. .

The Fear
All types of Criminals – and terrorists too, around the world are also very active in the border regions; they use cash couriers as a major means of physically moving funds across borders in order to finance their illicit activities and to launder their ill-gotten gains. There have been many initiatives to facilitate the detection, investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking offences and serious crimes that involve the transportation of cash across borders; international anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism standards recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are in place in most countries and this Best Practice Paper describe such standards. Another good Best Practice Paper was issue by the MENA FATF group.

Details

The Compliance Profession after the US 5 Million Thomas Haider proposed fine

The Background

According to news reports, FINCEN notified Thomas Haider, former Chief Compliance Officer of MoneyGram that he could be fined up to $5 million for compliance failures that resulted in the money-laundering fraud scheme where in November 2012 MoneyGram agreed to forfeit $100 million and entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for aiding and abetting wire fraud and failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act. .Tom Haider, who was the CO at the time, and his legal counsel are expected to meet with FinCEN officials to contest the fine, the news have also reported. Note: FinCEN announced on Dec 18,2014 that it had assessed a Civil Penalty of US 1 million and was seeking to bar him from the Financial Industry, see here: http://1.usa.gov/1xahywP .

According to court documents, MoneyGram processed thousands of transactions for its own agents known to be involved in an international scheme that defrauded tens of thousands of members of the U.S. public out of at least $100 million. MoneyGram profited from the scheme by collecting fees and other revenues on the fraudulent transactions from 2004 to 2009. More on this story here.. This proposed fine – and others – have caused a shift in prosecution of AML/BSA cases that is important to analyze.

Details

Access to Banking Services by Money Transfer Institutions

The problem

We can’t say that the access to banking accounts problem is new in the Money Transfer Industry, not in the USA or a number of other countries. It was one of the reasons why the NMTA was formed back in 1996, David Landsman, Executive Director, reminds us every now and then. So why is this a such an urgent issue in 2014? I think the answer is that in the last decade a large number of small money transfer companies, with very little capital and minimal compliance structures were the first to go, now is the medium sized, larger companies, well funded, with large investments in technology and compliance the ones that are feeling the brunt. What should the industry do?

Details

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013

On February 27, 2014 at the Interamerican Dialogue in Washington D.C.  remittance expert Manuel Orozco presented his yearly analysis of the volume of remittances entitled “Current Perspectives on Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013” and a PDF version of his briefing can be viewed/downloaded at the end of this short note. The paper considers the possible impact of immigration reform in the US on remittances and on the lives of migrants.

In 2013, family remittances to the region experienced little growth for most of the major remittance recipient countries. This may be a byproduct of immigration controls and deportations, demography, regulatory constraints and a slow recovery from the recession. Remittances have not grown substantially from 2012 and the total volume to the region was 60 billion, slightly decreasing by 1%. Manuel divides the results for the year in three groups:

Details

BLOG