As part of the massive expansion of its operations in Germany, the global CEO of the worldwide operating money transfer provider MoneyGram, Alex Holmes, was in Frankfurt recently to open the company’s new head office in Germany.
The occasion provided opportunity to talk about money transfer in a time of refugee crisis and the social responsibility of operators in the sector.
Mr Holmes spoke of the company’s efforts to make money transfer easier for its customers, mentioning the relaunch of its online transfer platform as an example. The company was employing digital and point of sale technology to make transaction easier for its agents and end customers, he added.
Holmes noted that an increasing amount of money was being transferred across the globe because more people were moving from one place to the other.
About one in seven persons in the world was a migrant and the international migrant population was growing at about 2 per cent.
Holmes also talked about the company’s support for the integration of migrants, revealing that persons of 36 different national origins work in the company’s office in Germany. MoneyGram, which offers money transfer services to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, has offices in 36 countries, employing nearly 4,000 workers.
Speaking at the event, Michael Schütze, Vice President Central, Northern and Emerging Europe, Baltics at MoneyGram, revealed that about 70 per cent of transfers handled by the company in Germany goes to other parts of Europe with Eastern Europe accounting for the lion share. Mr Schütze mentioned Nigeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Ghana as the leading remittance receiving countries in Africa. Nigeria is not only the biggest receiver of transfers but increasingly an important source of transfers out of Africa, he said.
In her presentation, Irmgard Breucker, Marketing Director Central, Northern and Emerging Europe, Baltics, talked about MoneyGram’s efforts in support of the integration of new immigrants in Germany. The company, working with partners, currently implements a project called Welcome to Germany. Under the scheme, a Welcome App Germany was developed and launched last October to provide orientation information for new comers through their mobile devices.
Under the same project, MoneyGram works with the publisher of an Arab-language newspaper Abwab which also helps new arrivals from the Middle East and North Africa to obtain information in their mother tongue on where to seek help to enable them settle down in Germany.
In addition, MoneyGram also supports sporting activities, to bring people of different cultural and religious backgrounds together, said Mrs Breucker. One of the activities sponsored by the company is the Cup of Nations 2016, whose final took place recently in Frankfurt and which brought together teams of football players with migration backgrounds from different parts of Germany.
Speaking to The African Courier at the event, Holmes said Africa was very important to the company and he talked about its support for many humanitarian projects in the continent and other regions within the context of its corporate social responsibility activities. The MoneyGram Foundation awarded US$2 million in grants between 2013 and 2015, he said.
On the issue of high transaction fees for transfers to Africa, he revealed that the situation had improved. “The World Bank set 5 per cent fee as target for money transfer operators and MoneyGram now averagely charges less than 5 per cent.”
Holmes said his company was committed to continue to make money transit easier for its numerous customers in Africa.
In a related development, MoneyGram has signed an agreement with the convenience company Lekerland enabling the former’s money transfer services to be offered in the outlets operated by the latter. Lekerland, which caters to people on the move, operates shops at gas filling stations, beverage shops, convenience stores and supermarkets, among others, all over Germany.
With the new agreement, MoneyGram has expanded its outlets in Germany, bringing its services ever closer to its customers.
The company’s diverse products and services are available at more than 350,000 physical locations worldwide and through online and mobile channels.