Directo a México Promotes FedACH Service
To help U.S. financial institutions increase their share of the rapidly growing U.S.-to-Mexico remittance market, the Federal Reserve Banks and Banco de México are sponsoring Directo a México, a marketing program that promotes the Federal Reserve’s FedACH International Mexico Service.
Launched in September, Directo a México provides customizable, Spanish-language materials that banks can use to market the Fed’s ACH (automated clearinghouse) service as a fast, safe, and low-cost way for consumers to transfer funds to family and friends in Mexico.
By using FedACH services, banks can reduce the cost of sending money home by 25 percent of the average costs of other remittance services, said Larry Schulz, vice president in the Federal Reserve’s Retail Payments Office (RPO).
Cross-border payments gain momentum
Remittances are a large and rapidly growing business. Mexicans living in the United States sent home $16.6 billion in 2004, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, which projects that figure to reach $20 billion this year and nearly $40 billion by 2010. But U.S. banks and credit unions account for only 3 percent of remittances to Latin America, according to Elizabeth McQuerry, assistant vice president in the Fed’s RPO.
Reaching users poses challenges
Targeting remittance services to consumers who need them can be difficult because as many as half the Mexicans in the United States don’t regularly use a bank for remittances or any other service, Schulz said.
Directo a México is designed to help banks reach these consumers. The program provides Spanish-language marketing materials—including templates for brochures, posters, lobby/tent cards, bank statement inserts, and a 30-second radio spot—that allow banks to attach their name and customize these products for their own use. Banks also receive a customer guide that includes information and ideas to help determine the local market potential.
FedACH, whose services depend on bank accounts at both ends of the transaction, is also partnering with a group of Mexican credit unions to help bank customers in the United States create accounts for their relatives in Mexico. Fewer than 30 percent of the population in Mexico have bank accounts.