Remittances, Payments and Immigration
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Remittances to Mexico rise 5.39 pct. in first 10 months of 2015

Remittances to Mexico rise 5.39 pct. in first 10 months of 2015 | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Remittances sent to Mexico by emigrants totaled $20.69 billion in the first 10 months of 2015, up 5.39 percent compared to the same period last year, when remittances totaled $19.63 billion, the Bank of Mexico said Tuesday.
Michael Kent's insight:

Great growth news coming out of the Worlds largest remittance corridor: USA to Mexico

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HSBC systems failure hits 275,000 payments - FT.com

HSBC systems failure hits 275,000 payments - FT.com | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
HSBC has apologised for a payments system failure that threatened to prevent thousands of people in the UK from receiving their pay cheques before the bank holiday weekend.
Michael Kent's insight:
More proof of crumbling infrastructure at the major banks. HSBC manages to screw up quarter of a million customer payments.
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Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first – not wealthy globetrotting donors. We are the only country in the world whose immigration system puts the needs of other nations ahead of our own.
Michael Kent's insight:
Scary inaccurate propaganda from the joke Republican presidential front runner:"Mexico continues to make billions on not only our bad trade deals but also relies heavily on the billions of dollars in remittances sent from illegal immigrants in the United States back to Mexico ($22 billion in 2013 alone)."Totally untrue stat for a start - much of the flow was from legal immigrant. plus its been pretty comprehensively proven that without these workers the US economy would be in substantially worse shape. But why let the truth get in the way of headline grabbing controversy.
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UK migration: Toil, trouble and tension - FT.com

UK migration: Toil, trouble and tension - FT.com | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
In the fenlands surrounding Boston, Lincolnshire, neatly-planted rows of cabbages and broccoli stretch out for miles.
Michael Kent's insight:
Reminder in today's FT of what the reality of being a migrant in the UK can be like
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Xoom or MoneyGram, Western Union Can Choose or Lose

Western Union Co. should be thinking about a deal.The $9.8 billion leader in the fragmented payments industry is facing intensifying competition amid already disappointing shareholder returns. Now, it has an opening to make a counteroffer for Xoom Corp., a company that’s tapped into the fast-growing market for digital money transfers between migrant workers in the U.S. and their families in countries such as India, the Philippines and Mexico.
Michael Kent's insight:
More musing on the consolidation trends in the IMT industry
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Euronet - Ria Acquires Malaysian Money Transfer Provider IME

Euronet - Ria Acquires Malaysian Money Transfer Provider IME | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Michael Kent's insight:
Ria have been trying to crack Asia for a long time. Historically they've been the organic growth guys so this is a departure buy should carry them a way in establishing themselves is a fast growing market.
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A fearful number

A fearful number | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
NO NUMBER strikes fear into bankers’ hearts like “311”. That is the section of America’s Patriot Act of 2001 that gives the Treasury sweeping powers to act...
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Interesting piece on the US Treasurys ultimate powers to punish AML failures at a global level and the broad variation with which this power is wielded.
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Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before? - BBC News

Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before? - BBC News | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Migration: Are more people on the move than ever before?
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Good high level summary from the BBC on macro trends in global migration.
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Fincen Fines Ripple Labs Over AML, Says Firm 'Enhancing' Protocol

Fincen Fines Ripple Labs Over AML, Says Firm 'Enhancing' Protocol | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
U.S. authorities have fined the San Francisco startup $700,000 over violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network s Tuesday press release.
Michael Kent's insight:
Really no excuse for this if your a fintech startup be we've seen time and again some newer players flaunting the rules which gives the whole scene a bad name. The rules aren't complex or onerous and you can't cut corners with this stuff.
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Only one in 3 Filipinos have bank accounts – WB - The Manila Times Online

Only one in 3 Filipinos have bank accounts – WB - The Manila Times Online | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
THE number of Filipino adults who hold bank accounts rose slightly by 4.7 percentage points in 2014 from 2011, but even with the increase, only about one in three Filipinos have a bank account, according to a World Bank study … Read more »...
Michael Kent's insight:
Its still all about cash when sending money to the Philippines...
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Kenya: 13 Money Transfer Firms Closed Over Links to Funding Terrorists

Kenya: 13 Money Transfer Firms Closed Over Links to Funding Terrorists | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Money transfer companies have topped the list of 86 accounts alleged to be funding terror groups according to a gazette notice issued under Kenya's prevention of terrorism act and signed by Kenya's police Chief Joseph Boinnet.
Michael Kent's insight:
Surprising to see UAE Exchange the new owners of Travelex on this list as potential terrorist funders.
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World Bank Group: Remittances – A Vital Channel for Global Cash Flows

World Bank Group: Remittances – A Vital Channel for Global Cash Flows | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Envision the world economy as a complex, interconnected array of financial engines whose propulsion helps reinforce one another’s momentum. One of the compone
Michael Kent's insight:

Good piece from the team at the World Bank estimating that cross border money transfer sustains the welfare of about 700 million people globally.

While they express concern about the removal of transactional capability from the marketplace I think (predictably, I know!) that mobile and social technology can overcome this trend: increasing accessibility and so driving prices down and increase the welfare of those 700m people.

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American Account: Immigration battle creates strange political bedfellows | The Sunday Times

American Account: Immigration battle creates strange political bedfellows | The Sunday Times | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it

Irwin Stelzer Published: 18 January

If you are a German and join a demonstration by Pegida, or a Brit and fancy Ukip, or a Frenchman and enjoy marching with the Front National, it’s a reasonable guess that you don’t like immigrants. If you’re an American, the story is different. There is a Lady in the Harbour to welcome the legal ones and a man in the White House to roll out the welcome mat for millions of illegal ones. And there is a society that until now has been successful in assimilating wave after wave of new arrivals.


Front and centre this week will be the efforts of Senate Republican leaders to round up the votes needed to tie to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security a provision effectively rescinding Obama’s quasi-amnesty that shields millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. Such a bill requires 60 votes, meaning that the 54 Senate Republicans will need help from 6 Democrats. Even if they get it, Obama will veto the bill, forcing Republicans to choose between surrendering, or closing down the department that is charged with protecting us from terror attacks. Such a shutdown is unthinkable in present circumstances.


America has in the past attracted those willing to take the risk of leaving home, which often means those willing to take the risk of starting small businesses. A new study by the non-partisan Fiscal Policy Institute finds that immigrants make up one-third of the owners of neighbourhood service establishments such as dry cleaners, beauty salons and food shops. These small businesses, almost half of them owned by Asians, “play a big role in neighbourhood revitalisation” as they are often located in low-rent, somewhat blighted areas.


The bad news is that the newer wave — the millions who sneak across the porous southern border — crowd the schools to which the middle class (but not the political class) sends its children, put heavy burdens on the emergency rooms of hospitals around the country, and are no longer under pressure to learn English or in some cases to assimilate. Also, according to George Borjas, the Harvard professor known as “America’s leading immigration economist”, they lower the wages of American workers, including blacks and US-born Hispanics.


This mixture of costs and benefits makes for strange political bedfellows.


■ The leftish president favours devising some path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and, until that path can be charted, allowing them to “come out of the shadows” and obtain driving licences and other documents that make their lives here easier. The rightish soon-to-be candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Jeb Bush, more or less agrees with the president, as does Arizona’s Republican senator John McCain, who told a woman at a policy meeting in my home that her desire to deport 11m immigrants was infeasible: “We don’t have 11m pairs of handcuffs in America.”


■ Left-leaning trade union leaders disagree with left-leaning Obama and want immigrants denied benefits, while the right-leaning exiting Texas governor and presidential wannabe, Rick Perry, granted illegal immigrants the benefit of paying university tuition fees at the same preferential rate available to legal Texas residents, but not to citizens from other states, arguing that Texas is best served by well-educated immigrants, legal or not.


■ Some trade unions, mostly in the healthcare and hospitality sectors, are important supporters of the Democratic party and favour more immigration — a new source of members. Employers, generally supporters of the Republican party, also want more immigrants, having been taught in the nation’s prestigious business schools that, other things being equal, an increase in supply lowers prices, in this case the price of labour, more commonly known as wages.


The battle now shaping up over immigration policy affects not only the low-paid. No left-right battle here. Both parties want to raise to about 200,000 the current 85,000 annual ceiling on the number of H-1B visas that allow highly skilled foreigners to work here. Supporters say 25% of hi-tech companies created since 1995 have at least one immigrant founder and 75% have “one core foreign-born team member, such as CEO”, and argue that it is a national waste to educate the world’s best and brightest in our universities and then force them to return home. Senator Jeff Sessions, a conservative Republican from Alabama, in an odd-couple alliance with some unions, responds that “there is a huge surplus of Americans trained in these fields who are unable to find employment”.


Employers in Silicon Valley and elsewhere say Sessions is wrong. But they do not come to the policy debate with clean hands. Just this week, Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe Systems agreed to pay $415m to settle an antitrust case after confessing that they had conspired not to “poach” — in other words, compete for — each other’s employees. The late Steve Jobs had told his counterparts it would be “war” if they made offers to Apple staff. Google boss Eric Schmidt warned the conspirators not to create a paper trail that might implicate them in this wage-fixing scheme. Instead, these highly placed executives in hi-tech companies created an incriminating email trail.


There is something more than a little hypocritical about a group of billionaires depressing wages, and then complaining that there is such a shortage of skilled American workers that they should be allowed to bring in more foreigners. Meanwhile, many non-billionaire small builders are responding to a shortage of construction workers the old-fashioned way: bidding up salaries to induce more workers to take up those trades.


So long as there are poor countries and richer countries, workers will try to leave one and enter the other, in search of work or benefits. Africans will risk death to get to Europe, Spaniards will learn German in order to work there, French and Polish workers will emigrate to Britain, and Mexicans will sneak into America. They will be a blessing for employers and upper-income people with household chores to be done, and a burden to middle and lower-income families whose schools they overcrowd and whose wages they depress. Little wonder that immigration remains a hot-button issue, and not only in America.

Michael Kent's insight:

In a great article Irwin (who I used to sometimes share an office with at NewsCorp) outlines how the immigration debate a swathe through the usual political lines.

In the run-up to a UK general election I hope more people will come out in favour of immigration from all sides of the political spectrum rather than dancing to Nigel's naive tune.

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Low oil prices affecting remittances from Middle East | Business, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com

Low oil prices affecting remittances from Middle East | Business, News, The Philippine Star | philstar.com | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
The continued decline in the prices of oil in the world market has started to make a dent on the amount of money sent home by Filipinos working and living in the Middle East.
Michael Kent's insight:

20% of remittances to the Philippines come from the Middle East and this articles details how they are being squeezed by the oil price slump

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Western Union Branches Close As Regulatory Pressures Force Bank’s Hand

Western Union Branches Close As Regulatory Pressures Force Bank’s Hand | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Western Union’s remittance services in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos have been shut down due to “excessive” regulatory pressure and compliance costs hurting its partner bank.Fidelity Group, which operates the money remitters branches, closed the outlets on July 18as part of a "de-risking" strategy.It said money remitting had become “too risky”, as the increasing threat of sanctions for anti-money laundering (AML) violations squeeze profits and generate extreme risk.Western Union, a global leader in payments, sa
Michael Kent's insight:

A reminder that its not just the smaller remittance players that lose their banking relationships due to 'de-risking'. WU turn to have taken a hit here.

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Migration: are remittances the real issue?

Migration: are remittances the real issue? | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
While remittances are an important tool for development, the international community must remember that if recognized as a tool alongside official development aid, there come many strings attached.
Michael Kent's insight:
Some interesting points on the downsides of remittances: inequality in recipient countries, dependency and the crowding out of the responsibility of governments to provide. Personally while I think these aspects are worth remembering the net impact of remittances is overwhelmingly positive
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International Money Transfer Services: Lean and Hungry

International Money Transfer Services: Lean and Hungry | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Review leading providers of consumer remittances, their operating models, customer acquisition strategies and valuations, differences between incumbents and
Michael Kent's insight:
Interesting new perspective on US market dynamics: "MoneyGram and Western Union are among the cheapest providers while “inexpensive” startups like TransferWise are charging much more."
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Euronet Worldwide Acquires XE, the World’s Trusted Currency Authority

Euronet Worldwide Acquires XE, the World’s Trusted Currency Authority | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
LEAWOOD, Kan., July 06, 2015-- Euronet Worldwide, Inc., a leading electronic payments provider, today announced it has acquired XE, a global leader in digital foreign exchange information. XE has established ...
Michael Kent's insight:
Big news for Euronet. XE user base is massive and will be interesting to see if Ria and HiFX can monitise it
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Oh you want your FX to be instant? That’s extra | FT Alphaville

Dan Davies' cynical guide to fintech was so good and made so many worthy points we've decided to launch a new FT Alphaville series to pay homage to it.
Michael Kent's insight:
Interesting perspective from the FT on the newer online currency broker model with undefined FX pricing and customers eating the risk. Comments section is good too.
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Moneygram hit with largest fine in Austrac's history

Moneygram hit with largest fine in Austrac's history | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has levied its largest ever fine on one of the world's biggest remittance network providers, as a penalty for what Austrac describes as "systemic contraventions of Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws."

Michael Kent's insight:

Not a good week for regulatory fines (maybe unless you are a regulator?).

The big banks, Western Union, Ripple, PayPal and now Moneygram in just a few days.

This fine looks related to agent management which is always issue for legacy players with large bricks and mortar networks 

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Western Union Said in Early Talks to Buy Rival MoneyGram

Western Union Said in Early Talks to Buy Rival MoneyGram | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it

Western Union Co. is in early-stage talks to acquire smaller rival MoneyGram International Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, as both companies contend with stiff competition from upstart money-transfer companies.

Michael Kent's insight:

Looks like Western Union are doubling down on the agent
based model

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Western Union: 60 Percent Of Our Customers Are Migrants Doing Remittances | PYMNTS.com

Western Union: 60 Percent Of Our Customers Are Migrants Doing Remittances | PYMNTS.com | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Roughly 60 percent of Western Union's customers are now migrants sending money back to their home countries -- and the shape of that remittance business isn't
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Western Union on the self serving but probably true argument that much remittance receive will remain cash based for a long time

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Remittances to developing nations to hit $500 billion in 2015 - U.N. official

Remittances to developing nations to hit $500 billion in 2015 - U.N. official | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
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Bitcoin revealed: a Ponzi scheme for redistributing wealth from one libertarian to another

Bitcoin revealed: a Ponzi scheme for redistributing wealth from one libertarian to another | Remittances, Payments and Immigration | Scoop.it
Bitcoin has fallen 36 percent in two days, as it gets hit by its version of the 2008 crisis.
Michael Kent's insight:
The protocol certainly has legs but the currency is looking shaky
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