Mr. Jean Claude Farah, Western Union Senior Vice President Middle East and Africa
The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services, announced it has opened the 500,000th Agent location through which it provides its expanding portfolio of financial services. The network spans more than 200 countries and territories, and is a centerpiece of Western Union’s strategy to provide mainstream financial services – either cash, card or digitally-based – to consumers and businesses globally. Western Union’s 500,000th location is “Freedom News” in New York City.
Western Union in the Middle East and Africa region witnessed a substantial development in their expansion of the number of touch points to reach over 38,000 agent locations in 66 countries across 7000 cities, towns and villages. This includes more than 1,540 agent locations in the GCC countries in 361 different cities and towns; all distributed among various banks, post offices and financial service companies in both the public and private sector.
Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO Western Union said, “Western Union is changing quickly. Building on our strong global fundamentals – our brand, Agent network and regulatory expertise – we are creating a more dynamic organization and product set focused on the underserved market – economically viable consumers and businesses whose financial service needs are not being met fully by other segments of the industry.”
“Our vision is to establish one million Western Union touch points – in every corner of the globe where anyone, anywhere can send a money transfer, pay bills, obtain and reload a prepaid card or pick up funds sent through a Western Union yellow phone or the Internet. We believe access to financial services is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” concluded Ersek.
Western Union has been at the forefront of innovation with a focus on increasing access to its money transfer service via digital and alternative channels. And to deliver on its commitment, Western Union has launched the account-based money transfer service through which a bank’s accountholders can send money from their accounts online, from ATM machines, or from their mobile phones to one of more than 200 countries and territories around the world for cash payout. And in some countries, accountholders can choose to receive funds send via Western Union directly in their accounts, on a mobile phone or via an ATM.
"The Middle East and GCC markets play host to a large expatriate population, and Western Union provides a crucial bridge back home for them” said Mr. Jean Claude Farah, Western Union Senior Vice President Middle East and Africa. “It’s one of the most diverse markets in the world, with people from hundreds of countries from all walks of life residing here. We tailor our financial services according to the nature of the diverse ethnography in the region, and going by our success it seems that we are touching a chord across the board. Our continued expansion in this region reflects the growing trust and comfort that people have with using Western Union,” Farah added.
Remittances contribute to economic stability around the world, by serving as a critical source of foreign capital in many countries. Western Union is a leader in this $416 billion annual cross-border flow1 of resources, completing 226 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide and 425 million business payments in 2011.