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…

Las amenazas de Trump – Remesas, impuestos, migración, deportaciones y la construcción del muro

Remesas, impuestos, migración, deportaciones y la construcción del muro

Durante las primarias presidenciales republicanas del año pasado, Donald Trump expuso su propuesta de cómo forzar a México a pagar por el muro de 1,000 millas en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y este país. Los periodistas Bob Woodward y Robert Costa del Washington Post publicaron en Abril 5 de 2016 la noticia (http://wapo.st/2jbWHFn) en la cual Trump manifestaba su intención de amenazar a México con “cortar el suministro de remesas”. Trump envió en esta ocasión un memorando de dos páginas…

Press Release: IMTC LATAM 2017

Miami, January 5, 2017 – IMTC, the premier events of the International Money Transfer & Payments Industry, has announced today that its first remittance & migration conference of 2017 will be held in Antigua, Guatemala at the Porta Hotel. IMTC LATAM 2017 will be it’s first conference in Central America and will draw attendees from the Americas & Europe.

Remittances to Guatemala will surpass US 7 Billion for 2016, an all-time high. Remittances to Guatemala have grown steadily since 2010 with an average growth of 6% per year, outperforming most of the countries in the region. But also El Salvador, Honduras and even Mexico has seen remittances grow in 2016, all of them reaching all-time highs. Remittances to Honduras are expected to reach 4 billion while El Salvador could reach 4.5 B when year-end statistics are published. Higher incomes in the US and Trump fears are cited as reasons for the increases.

THE TRUMP MIGRATION POLICIES THAT MIGHT AFFECT THE INDUSTRY

Fears abound amidst growing speculation on what Trump’s new government will mean for migrants in the US and for Mexico and its remittances life-line.
I have been asked by many colleagues on what the Trump administration will mean to the industry and to remittances in general and I have basically kept quiet, scanning the news for its cabinet nominations to catch a glimpse, under all the noise and non-sense, of what could it all mean for our industry and to all the clients we serve in the United States. And with so much influence in the world, what happens in the US will surely affect the industry in many countries.

HELPING REMITTANCE FAMILIES IN NEED

OVERSEAS WORKERS IN SAUDI ARABIA
When migrant workers are left stranded, should governments step in?

The situation in Saudi Arabia for overseas workers is critical. During the oil boom migrant workers went from 5.3M in 2000 to 10.2M in 2015 according to UN figures. More than 1M have lost their jobs in 2016 and remittances are dropping more than 20% every month compared to last year’s figures. Shivaji Sarkar wrote in The Pioneer: “The hiking petroleum price by producing nations itself had caused upheaval and as different energy sources are now being developed, it is leading to an Arabian night.” An Arabian night for the construction companies that are laying off thousands of workers and the OWs that they employ…

Migration & Remittances: Global Trends

On the occasion of the International Day of Family Remittances, June 16, 2016, KNOMAD, the WORLD BANK and IMTC invited the general public to a one-hour virtual session entitled: Migration & Remittances: Global Trends, Outlook and State of Play. Speakers were Dilip Ratha, Head, KNOMAD and Lead Economist, Migration and Remittances, World Bank and Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, Director, IMTC Conferences and Mohr World Consulting. Here are the Voice Recordings and the available transcripts.

We also want to THANK all the institutions that signed the pledge and we hope to make the IDFR 2017 a great success!
Part 1: Dilip Ratha | Part 2: Hugo Cuevas-Mohr | Part 3: 5 Questions with Answers

Our industry, our image, our trade groups…

As I leave Barcelona after IMTC EMEA 2016 this past May 18-20 and I reflect on the industry, I can’t help but feel proud of the work we do at IMTC and the people we serve. Even talking with long-time industry warriors who are tired of the increasing complexity of the sector, I am a positive person and I can’t help but look back on where we started, around 30-35 years ago, and where we are now. Yes, we face many problems: bank discontinuance, regulatory inconsistency, a somewhat tainted image, weak trade groups, just to name a few. But we are a strong and growing sector with new products and services, new client sectors and technology developments that are impressive. Let’s take a partial look at ourselves…

GAO Reports on International Remittances

I think it is very important that every person in this industry reads the GAO Report published on February 16th, 2016, entitled INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCES: Actions Needed to Address Unreliable Official U.S. Estimate – Highlights Page (1 page), Full Report (62 pages). A second report published the same day is entitled INTERNATIONAL REMITTANCES: Money Laundering Risks and Views on Enhanced Customer Verification and Record keeping RequirementsHighlights Page (1 page), Full Report (59 pages), Accessible Version (62 pages).

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 10

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Bitcoin, as a remittance tool, is now being used by a few pioneer firms, while the overall acceptance of the blockchain protocol as a significant invention has shifted the rhetoric about VCs for the better. With MTBIT, at IMTC, we have been actively seeking individuals and firms using blockchain protocols to offer solutions to cross-border customers.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 9

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The rise of P2B, B2B, and Forex services in the industry is making the “Payments” side of the International Money Transfer & Payments Industry more dynamic and more important, overall, with new services, new entrants and new offerings. The P2P money transfer and remittance market has been historically closely linked to the Forex Market, although regulations in many countries, as well as currency controls due to AML compliance concerns, broke the bond and led to the demise of many Forex firms, most prominently, the “casas de cambio” in Latin America.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 8

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The continued decline in the price of oil is affecting remittances worldwide, although the effects are varied, depending on the region of the world. But even if oil prices fell to their lowest levels in a decade, remittance outflows from the GCC were not heavily impacted during 2015. Remittances to Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen, with over 70% coming from the GCC, were not affected.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 7

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

It was a good year for Mergers & Acquisitions (M&As) in the IMTC&P Industry, with the most notable news coming from the U.S: The July, 2015, $890M deal for the purchase of XOOM by PayPal. You can google hundreds of news articles on PayPal’s acquisition of Xoom or read the SEC merger report.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 6

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

The digital race heats up in the U.S. with the entrance of World Remit and TransferWise into the U.S. market, while Western Union opens up online channels in Europe. SaveOnSend articles, written by Alexey Artamonov and his multinational team, are probably one of the best sources to explore the rise of TransferWise and its initial strategy in Europe.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 5

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Digital IMT&Ps are continuing to increase their market share as investors and bankers favor online/mobile channels. At IMTC WORLD 2015’s M&A roundtables, the message was clear: Investors and bankers are favoring digital channels, overwhelmingly, and not only is the valuation of digital money transfer companies very high, but there is very small interest in the investment world for investing in traditional agent-based MTOs.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 4

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Mobile Money Services continue to expand across the developing world with new cross-border functionalities, systems integrations, partnerships, and regulatory advances for the industry. Domestic use of mobile transfer services spreads. The Global Mobile Systems Association (GMSA) reports that mobile money industry continues to expand globally, with more than 250 live mobile money services in nearly 90 countries.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 3

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Price to the public of industry services have been fairly stable during the year. MTOs interviewed have seen a slight upward trend even though they state that competition in every channel is fierce, more so in the exchange spread than in the fees. According to Remittance Prices Worldwide (RPW), the global average cost of sending remittances (including all fees and charges) remained basically the same in 2015 with a slight downward trend. RPW reports that the global average was 7.72% in 1Q, 7.68% in 2Q,  7.52% in 3Q and 7.37% in 4Q – a change of – 0.35% for the year).

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 2

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Bank discontinuance and de-risking of MSBs/MTOs/money transmitters is still a major global problem industry-wide, but we think there has been a slight shift in the discussion with reports, regulations, and statements being published that gives us a sense of the issue moving forward; the small positive steps might seem irrelevant to a number of companies caught with limited or no banking relationships.

The 10 Most Important Issues – 2015 Edition – 1

Hugo Cuevas-Mohr puts together every year the 10 Most important Issues for the industry. To download the PDF go to Download/IMTC Publications.

Although the volume of International Money Transfer & Payments (IMT&Ps) continues to increase, the percentage increase YTY has slowed down. According to the World Bank and Knomad, in their latest Brief #25, the growth rate of remittances to developing countries is projected to fall from 3.3% in 2014 to 2% in 2015 (down from 7% in 2010-2013). The slower growth rate is not uniform at all since the sharp decrease in remittances from Russia and slower growth in the Middle East significantly affected the global average.

In Memoriam – Emilio Garofalo Filho

The news came this past weekend. Our friend and colleague Emilio Garofalo Filho has passed away. My friend and IMTC Advisory Board Member Daniel Trias told me the sad news. Daniel was shaken. He had just had lunch with Emilio two weeks ago where they both discussed IMTC BRASIL 2016, the Conference to take place…

The new MONEY SERVICE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION – MSBA – is announced in the US

The organizing committee, in its first public announcement, stated: “The MSBA is a trade association focused on the non-bank money services industry, including licensed money transmitters and their agents/authorized delegates, payment card issuers and distributors, payment processors, international remittance companies, bill payment companies, mobile payment application providers, payment aggregators, virtual currency exchanges and administrators, eWallet providers…