“Our relentless focus on customers and their needs; delivering for them, every single day. This is what underpins our leading position and will continue to do so,” said Western Union President and CEO, Hikmet Ersek, in a wide-ranging interview with one of Austria’s top business radio shows, OE1’s Saldo, as he referred to the company’s success in the marketplace, past, present, and future, and to broader global issues such as financial inclusion and migration.
“We have earned our customers’ trust through our focus on covering their needs and our investment in our leading, cross-border, cross-currency omni-channel platform that provides choice for our global customers,” added Ersek.
Western Union’s CEO was asked what the company’s “core” customer audience is. “We do business for our 150 million customers, true everyday heroes, providing through their money transfers a true lifeline to the hundreds of millions of their families and loved ones across the world. We do business for the wider community of the 280m global migrants, true global citizens, “said Ersek, adding, “we provide access to the global economy for the 1.7b people that are currently unbanked in the world. I know of very few other companies as driven by their purpose as Western Union.”
2021 marks Western Union’s 170th anniversary. What is, according to Ersek, the anniversary’s point for the company? “170 years gives us perspective and resilience. Today, we manage one of the biggest, truly global business portfolios. This perspective, this resilience, and this truly global reach is what makes us unique, and one of our key “competitive” advantages,” said Ersek.
Hikmet Ersek was asked on his perspective about the post-pandemic world, and the role of migration in building back better our societies and economies. “It is vital for economic prosperity, as we look to a post-pandemic future, that the flow of migration across the world is restored. We cannot build back better without regulated migration,” said Ersek, stressing that we collectively need to focus on integration, working with migrant and local communities to ensure migrants do get decent, paid-for jobs, helping them adjust, and helping communities adjust.
The interview ended on a personal note, on what drives Ersek. “I am myself a migrant. I know what it means to support your family back home. To call more than one place home. I have seen first-hand, through my own personal experience, the incredible effect that remittances have in people’s lives. And this is what drives me, drives all of us at Western Union, every day: the dignity, opportunity and ultimately hope that remittances give to those that often need it the most,” he concluded.