MEXICO: Western Union’s winning omni-channel choice delivers for customers and has driven company performance in Mexico
By Odilon Almeida, Western Union President of the Americas and European Union
Western Union has grown together with Mexico’s international migration for more than two decades. As the number of Mexicans living in the United States and across the world has increased, and the financial ties between family members in the host and home country have multiplied, our company has been there every step of the way.
We have been moving the money that is financing home, local and national economies, driving growth and innovation, and contributing to broader global economic advancement. Over the last few years, Western Union has outpaced the market in the amount of remittances and transactions sent from the U.S. to Mexico, based on trends monitored by Banco de Mexico.
The amount of money customers sent through all three of The Western Union Company’s brands – Western Union®, Vigo® and Orlandi ValutaSM — has been growing ahead of the market for 12 consecutive quarters, while transactions have grown for more than 11 consecutive quarters. During the same periods, the Mexico market grew on average five percent in principal and seven percent in transactions.
At a time when competition in the remittance market is at an all-time high with more players than ever driving healthy competition for the benefit of consumers, Western Union’s market familiarity, multi-channel and multi-brand solutions centered on meeting customer needs are driving the company’s performance.
We have been winning in Mexico, along with our customers.
In the U.S., our trusted brands are driving our retail success. Western Union-branded money transfers continue to be our anchor with more than 50,000 walk-in locations, while Vigo and Orlandi Valuta are purposefully located across the U.S serving distinct customer needs. In Mexico, all three of the same brands are at work across our nearly 13,600 Agent locations in 31 states and the federal district.
In addition, the Western Union® mobile app and westernunion.com contributed to our growth, as they attract a new category of digitally savvy U.S. customers. It is with great pride that we have further grown our reach in Mexico. Customers in the U.S. can now send money via the Western Union® mobile app, westernunion.com and retail Agent location channels, directly into nearly all bank accounts in Mexico[i].
Access and speed for cash payouts are critical in Mexico; therefore our scale, neighborhood locality and extended hours of operation across urban, rural and remote areas are driving our differentiation in this highly competitive market. Now account payout from the U.S. also is appealing to a banked population, which has grown to 40 percent, up from 27 percent from three years ago.
Western Union’s advancing cross-border FinTech capability is attracting both existing and new bank-centric and tech-savvy customers, and it is helping us to realize our vision of connecting more people, across more channels with speed and ease.
At Western Union, we’ve been serving the people of Estados Unidos Mexicanos since 1994. Mexico has a long tradition of international migration, with more than 13.2 million or 9.4 percent of its native population living overseas.[ii] The Mexico–United States corridor is the largest migration corridor in the world[iii], according to The World Bank. More than 13 million Mexican-born individuals – 98 percent of all Mexican emigrants in the world – reside in the U.S.
Financial transfers underpin a powerful economic dialogue between Mexicans living and working across the world and their loved ones back home. The country’s importance is emphasized by the fact we moved money from 180 countries and territories into Mexico last year alone. Mexico is the fourth largest receiver of remittances globally and Western Union’s largest international corridor, serving Mexican families who depend upon the ability to receive and send money easily, reliably and conveniently.
One out of five people in Mexico receives remittances from abroad each year and it represents two percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Nine out of every 10 remittances come directly from the United States.
These payouts represent roughly half of the average income for recipient families, and are primarily used for food, housing and education. Other uses include debt reduction, medical expenses, living comforts, home improvements and support for micro-businesses.
Our trusted Agents and connections with Mexico’s banks continue to help advance the Western Union mission of moving money for better. While our company, the world and new ways of sending and receiving money have changed, our vision of building an omni-channel network to connect people — family, friends, entrepreneurs and communities — remains at the very heart of Western Union.
[ii] Source: United Nations PD, International Migrant Stock 2015 estimates