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September 20, 2014   

Financial Inclusion // Remittances

 

International Remittances Network (IRnet®)

For more information, contact:
Remittances Program Staff
World Council of Credit Unions
Phone: +1-608-395-2000
Email: remittances@woccu.org

World Council of Credit Unions, along with its providers, strives to assist credit unions in reaching emerging markets by providing credit unions with safe and affordable money transfer products and technologies. By offering high-demand remittance products, credit unions are able to attract and effectively serve potential members in this evolving financial marketplace.

The combined expertise of our money transfer partners and World Council’s credit union knowledge results in customized solutions, better service to emerging markets, an expansive network with convenient points of service, tailored products to attract new members and the ability to go above and beyond by offering other financial products and services to attract new members into the financial mainstream.

IRnet was developed in response to credit union members and potential members’ demand for money transfer services and to counter the exorbitant fees being charged to use these services.

By offering strategic relationships that provide the best overall value for quality products at more competitive prices than a credit union could negotiate individually, credit unions that join IRnet are better positioned to effectively compete in this vast market.

Effective June 2012, IRnet is no longer accepting new credit union applications in the United States.

Credit unions outside the United States may offer the following remittance products:

MoneyGram
 Vigo
Intermex logo
Intercambio Dinex


IRnet is not limited to credit union-to-credit union transfers. People have the option of making a transfer from a credit union to a credit union, from a credit union to a non-credit union (for example, to a retail outlet providing money transfers), or from a non-credit union to a credit union. The current overall network provides service to countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America.

By offering access to remittance services, credit unions around the world are able to serve unbanked and underserved populations, providing access to additional financial products and services that may ultimately help them improve their lives.

Remittances — A Transactional Financial Service in High Demand

As the foreign-born population in the United States continues to rise, so does the need for access to safe and affordable financial services — including remittances. Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous growth in money transfers, especially to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). According to the Inter-American Development Bank, remittances totaling US$67.5 billion were sent to LAC in 2008, of which over US$25 billion went to Mexico alone.

For many countries, remittances have become a highly dependable source of household income and often a significant percentage of the country’s gross national product. For family and friends back home, these funds are vital to help cover the costs of food, housing, education and new businesses and to save for the future. World Council’s program provides a safe, rapid and economical means for credit union members and potential members to send and receive these funds.

Advantages

Credit unions as agents/payers: Unlike other remittance providers operating out of convenience stores or check-cashing outlets, credit unions offer core financial services such as savings and checking accounts, loans and educational seminars, in addition to remittances. Credit unions in the United States are also regulated and insured financial institutions

Lower fees and disclosure of exchange rate: For as little as US$10, credit union members and potential members can send up to US$1,000 to Mexico. Senders are guaranteed the rate of exchange and informed of the amount the beneficiary will receive at the time of the transfer.

No fee to the beneficiary: The beneficiary abroad will not be charged any fee for receiving transfers.

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