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19 de febrero de 2004

WOCCU to address ACH gateway's effect on CUs

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MADISON, Wis. (2/19/04)--The lack of access to financial service in Mexico and developing countries may be a hindrance to the Federal Reserve's new "gateway" service, which lets banks and credit unions use the automated clearing house (ACH) to send money to Mexican financial institutions.

The Fed introduced the service Tuesday after piloting the project for a year.

However, unlike Western Union wire service run by First Data Corp. or World Council's international remittance program, IRnet, the Fed's program requires that both sender and recipient have a bank account.

According to Dave Grace, senior manager, international trade association at WOCCU, "The requirement of having a 'bank' is absolutely a hindrance, as 65% to 85% of Mexicans in Mexico are unbanked." He said he'll address the issue of the lack of access in a presentation to the World Bank staff later this week.

WOCCU and CUNA have been working with the Fed "for some time. WOCCU/CUNA helped move this along via our Senate banking committee testimony in February 2001 and discussions with Senate staff," says Grace.

"We also provided Fed staff names and contacts of credit unions as potential users of the service," says Grace.

"One of my biggest concerns with the system, however, is that Mexican credit unions do not have direct access to this payment system in Mexico. In the U.S., it's unimaginable that U.S. credit unions should have access to central bank clearing and settlement systems."

However, "we continue to work with the Fed and Banco de Mexico on this issue," says Grace.

According to American Banker (Feb. 18), the Mexican and Canadian services are one-way channels of funds flowing out of the U.S. The Fed had planned two-way flows in service to five European countries, but last fall the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and NACHA, the electronic payments association, raised concerns about screening controls.

El Consejo Mundial de Cooperativas de Ahorro y Crédito es la asociación gremial y agencia de desarrollo para el sistema internacional de cooperativas de ahorro y crédito. El Consejo Mundial promueve el crecimiento sustentable de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y otras cooperativas financieras en todo el mundo a fin de facultar a las personas para que mejoren su calidad de vida a través del acceso a servicios financieros asequibles y de alta calidad. El Consejo Mundial realiza esfuerzos de defensa activa en representación del sistema global de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito ante organizaciones internacionales y trabaja con gobiernos nacionales para mejorar la legislación y la regulación. Sus programas de asistencia técnica introducen nuevas herramientas y tecnologías para fortalecer el desempeño financiero de las cooperativas de ahorro y crédito y profundizar su alcance comunitario.

El Consejo Mundial ha implementado 290 programas de asistencia técnica en 71 países. A nivel mundial, 57,000 cooperativas de ahorro y crédito en 105 países atienden a 217 millones de personas. Obtenga más información sobre el impacto global del Consejo Mundial en

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