On June 8th, 2010 MoneyGram released the following information. Because I feel so strongly about this topic, I would like to share the entire press release with you, along with my personal thoughts on it.
MINNEAPOLIS, Jun 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a leading global money transfer company, announced today that First Bank of Nigeria Plc has selected MoneyGram to provide money transfer services in its more than 500 locations across the nation. First Bank, established in 1894, is Nigeria’s oldest bank and one of the largest in terms of network size. First Bank has locations in all key cities including Abuja, Benin, Lagos, Iabdan, Port Harcourt, and Warri as well as a significant presence in rural Nigeria, some operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making MoneyGram services even more convenient for Nigerians.
Is this really what we need? for Money Gram services to be even more convenient for Nigerians? I feel that it is pretty convenient for them just as it is. Actually it is way TOO convenient for them to pick up money that people receive from counterfeit cashier’s checks, or for fake Secret Shopper jobs or that people believe that they are sending to someone within the United States.
“MoneyGram, which has operated in Nigeria since 1998, saw significant growth between 2006 and 2008 when it tripled its network in the country,” said Vicky Johnston, MoneyGram’s senior regional director for Anglo Africa and Middle East. “We are excited about partnering with First Bank as it is MoneyGram’s most recent and significant expansion which will allow us to provide a service to so many more people through the bank’s large number of branches.”
Ironically, during the same time period that MoneyGram increased it’s network in the country, the number of money lost to scams and fraud also increased. You can see the increase on the chart below which is from the Annual Report put out by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov)
To commemorate the agreement with First Bank Plc, MoneyGram’s Chairman and CEO, Pamela H. Patsley is in Nigeria and will attend the official launch event scheduled for today. During her visit, Patsley will address the media as well as CEOs of MoneyGram’s agent banks in Nigeria, discussing the common goal of bringing needed financial services to the people of Nigeria and the growth opportunities there.
I have a better idea . . . what about discussing the common goal of fighting all of the scams and fraud that pass through MoneyGram every day, and how they can do more to save those customers from becoming victims. Before we start looking at the financial needs of the people of Nigeria, I think we need to protect the financial needs of the people right here in the United States.
“MoneyGram is pleased to partner with First Bank,” said Patsley. “Our partnership will help to ensure that our services are accessible and convenient for the people of Nigeria and that we can continue to meet the growing demand of consumers in this important remittance market.”
And why are their demands growing? Because there are more and more scams going undetected or people just turning a blind eye to them.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is ranked in the top 10 receive countries for money transfers. The World Bank estimates that $10 billion USD in remittances was sent to Nigeria in 2009 – with the United States being the primary send country. Other top send countries include Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
That is because Nigeria is also ranked in the top 3 countries for money wire transfer scams. The other countries would be Canada and the United Kingdom, who are also ironically on the list above. I wonder hom much of the $559.7 million dollars from the chart above that went out of this country in scams is directly a part of the $10 billion reported to be going into Nigeria in 2009?
With the First Bank agreement, MoneyGram now has a total of eight bank relationships, thus further proving that MoneyGram is dedicated to providing reliable and safe money transfer services to Nigerians – wherever they may reside. Furthermore, agent banks in Nigeria have brought a positive experience to the remittance business with their individual pedigree in banking, service quality delivery and branch network, which provides a sense of ease for those receiving funds from family members working in other countries.
So we are going over and above to make sure that Nigerians have a reliable and safe money transfer service, but we are doing very little to offer that same kind of safety to the MoneyGram customers in the United States. The last sentence in the above paragraph really gets me . . . . which provides a sense of ease for those receiving funds. Why is it that we seem to care more about the people in another country, who are one of the main sources of these scams, than the people here in the United States that they are scamming?
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