Hugo is a writer, a conference speaker, a conference/event producer, an inquisitive panel moderator and an opinionated money transfer consultant and mentor with vast experience. who speaks English, Spanish, French and who loves to run, swim... and walk over long distances.

IMTC ASIA 2018 SUMMARY

Analyzing the results of IMTC ASIA 2018 in Manila September 19-21, the first thing that comes to mind is the very interesting state of the money transfer industry in The Philippines. Companies, colleagues, regulators, government representatives, were very open to share their ideas, their work, their vision, which contributed to understand key transformations that the…

Digital vs. Cash, are we getting it all wrong?

This article was conceived after discussing with colleagues in the industry why the payments world has been driven into the Cash vs. Digital dichotomy. My research on cash has been inspired by analyzing the penalization of cash-based industries, such as the money transfer industry by the banking sector, which has resulted in the derisking phenomenon…

Preparing for IMTC ASIA 2018 in September

Last week, May 2-5, myself, Hugo Cuevas-Mohr and Olivia Chow, from Yokip Consulting, our partner in the RemTech Awards and The Blockchain Series Coordinator,  were in Manila in a round of visits with local authorities, money transfer companies, banks and associations. The main objective was to prepare the program for our coming IMTC ASIA 2018…

What Is Driving Remittances to the Region (Latam)?

On November 15th, the Financial Services Advisor, a Newsletter published by The Interamerican Dialogue, a Washington, DC think tank where well-known remittance expert Manuel Orozco is the Director of the Migration, Remittances and Development Program, has published a Q&A entitled What Is Driving Remittances to the Region? where Manuel and several colleagues – including myself, most obliged,…

The Antimonopoly Prosecutor in Chile sides with MSBs on Bank Account Closures

We thank our colleague Carlos Grossman, for the report out of Chile where the Antimonopoly Division of the National Economic Prosecutor Office (División Antimonopolios de la Fiscalía Nacional Económica – FNE)  reports the investigation that took place after an August 2015 complaint by a Forex Firm denouncing seven banks of denying the opening of a…

DE-RISKING AND THE GREAT UNBANKING CHALLENGE

How De-Risking is changing the face of Financial Services worldwide In July 6th & 8th the Economist published two articles that, again, raised the de-risking threat discussion to new levels. The July 6th article was entitled “The great unbanking [1] –  Swingeing fines have made banks too risk-averse – It is time to rethink anti-money-laundering…

How is technology changing the remittance industry?

In the process of building the RemTECH Awards http://bit.ly/RemAwards1 and asking ourselves what innovation in the remittances industry meant, I searched the internet and talked to colleagues, both in the traditional financial services sector, bank and non-bank, as well as in fintech start-ups. I began with fintech and what is truly interesting is that there…

IMTC LATAM 2017 Afterthoughts

Never before in an IMTC Conference we have had so many representatives from such a large number of sectors of society: politicians, ex-politicians, researchers, academics, pollsters, migration specialists, opinion makers, journalists, social workers, representatives of NGOs, cooperatives, “Cajas” (community banks), workers’ banks, entrepreneurs, remittance companies directives and commercial bank executives. I think that three factors…

Vamos llegando (We are arriving) – poem & song

Almost 10 years ago I wrote this poem entitled “encontrando espacio” (finding space) that was published in my 2008 poetry book “más allá del mar”. Italian composer, Massimiliano Agelao, created a song, entitled “vamos llegando” (we are arriving) that was recorded – and performed, by a young group of musicians and singers in Colombia, called Grupo Musicalizando.
The song and the poem are a tribute to all the men and women who courageously challenge borders in search of a better future for themselves and their families … a tribute to the migrants of the whole world. I these worrying times of massive walls and deportations, I felt that it was a good time to share it with you.

The poem and the song are in Spanish and the translation is just to help you understand it; it is not, by any means a poetic translation…

The shifting views on family remittances

After a series of media interviews a couple of weeks ago, in a trip to Guatemala, I realized in a moment that I was witnessing a change in the public perception of remittances that I had not grasped before. Answering one by one journalist questions, it was unquestionable that I was witnessing a shift that I had not noticed before. After thinking about it, I could say that the shift is global although that doesn’t mean that a shift is happening in the same way or at the same time in every region or country in the world. Having been a part of the remittance industry for three decades I suddenly saw it very clearly. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself so let’s back up a little.