Madison, WI—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) today announced a strategic relationship with Vigo Remittance Corp., one of the largest electronic funds transfer companies in the United States, to provide remittance services in Africa. The new program, IRnet® Coop Kenya, marks the first venture into the Kenyan remittance market for both World Council and Vigo.
IRnet® Coop Kenya is a joint undertaking of World Council, its affiliated credit unions and Vigo, which provides consumers with access to Vigo money transfer transactions sent from the United States to participating credit unions throughout Kenya. World Council member Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives, Ltd. (KUSCCO) and its affiliates, Kenya Bankers Savings and Credit Co-operative Society, Ltd., Mwalimu Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO), Baringo Teachers SACCO and Ndege Chai SACCO comprise the current IRnet® remittance network in Kenya.
"Entering the Kenyan market is really an exciting milestone for World Council, IRnet® Coop Kenya and the Kenyan SACCOs," IRnet® program manager Tiffany Kultgen said. "Providing Kenyans with access to international remittance services through these credit unions enables the general population to receive greatly needed funds from their family members in the U.S. It also provides all Kenyans the opportunity to deposit their money directly into a savings account, which offers security and helps make their remittances work for them."
Andrew Odera, IRnet® Coop Kenya general manager, also sees remittances as an outreach tool to serve the unbanked population and help attract new members.
"We now offer an affordable alternative to traditional money transfer organizations," Odera said. "Additionally, members of cooperatives no longer have to travel far to receive remittances, as this agreement establishes convenient locations throughout Kenya."
IRnet® traditionally has focused on providing services in Latin American and Caribbean countries. IRnet® aims to provide affordable money transfer in Africa.
"We've been quite successful in markets where credit unions entered before the market became over-saturated," Kultgen said. "It gives credit unions the opportunity to gain recognition early on and thus position themselves as key players in the market."
"The Kenyan remittance corridor represents a growth opportunity for Vigo, and we welcome the addition of World Council of Credit Unions to our expanding network of payment locations," said Karen Lithgow, Vice President, international, Vigo. "World Council and its affiliated credit unions provide Kenyans with convenient, trusted locations, making it easy for them to receive money from associates, friends or family in the United States. This, coupled with the competitive price, speed and reliability of Vigo's money transfer services, establish a foundation for continued growth in the region."
The new remittance distribution network currently serves Athi River, Nairobi, Nyeri and Kisumu. Vigo also offers remittance services in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. World Council has been working with the Kenyan credit union sector for more than 20 years and with Vigo since 2000. With IRnet®, anyone can send money through Vigo's agents in the United States and Canada. In addition to its payer network in Kenya, IRnet® operates through approximately 900 points of service in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Nicaragua.
About Vigo Remittance Corp.
VIGO Remittance Corp. is a subsidiary of Western Union, which trades in the NYSE under ticker symbol (WU). Vigo is a branded consumer financial services company with 20 years of experience in the most competitive U.S. and international markets. It is a low-cost, high- value provider to the consumer with superior service levels and reach throughout the world. Vigo is one of the largest electronic funds transfer companies in the United States and provides affordable and efficient payment services with more than 4,000 agents in 45 states in the U.S. and 43 countries. For more information, visit www.vigousa.com.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 105 countries serve 217 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.