Kolkata, Aug 25 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a global leader in money transfer services, on Wednesday announced that Bandhan, amongst India’s leading microfinance companies, will soon offer the WU service across the country.
The agreement to offer Western Union Money Transfer services was cemented between existing Principal Agent Weizmann Forex and Western Union at a ceremony held in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Bandhan Microfinance, as Western Union’s Sub-Agent will activate 800 of its locations by year end linking it to more than 200 countries and territories across the world.
“With the addition of Bandhan, one of the largest micro finance institutions in India with a customer base of over 2.8 million consumers, we hope to further reinforce our rural presence through Bandhan’s extensive network of over 1,500 rural locations across India shortly,” said Anil Kapur, Managing Director, Western Union, South & South East Asia.
Bandhan’s addition to the Western Union Agent network further reinforces Western Union’s outreach to rural consumers helping them in turn to access international money transfer services.
Spread across India’s 28 states and 7 Union territories, the Western Union Money Transfer service connects millions of Indians working and living overseas with their family and loved ones each year.
Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, Chairman & Managing Director of Bandhan told media: “Lack of convenient financial infrastructure in rural India means Indians working and living abroad have to depend on informal channels to transfer their hard earned monies to their loved ones and with it comes all the associated issues of lack of reliability and convenience.”
“Offering Western Union Money Transfer services through Bandhan means our extensive network across rural India will henceforth link the remotest of villages to an unbeatable international network. The new doorstep facility of providing remittances will result in cost savings and convenience to them when cashing their remittance which in turn brings about financial inclusion which remains the philosophy behind our service mandate,” he said.
According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India received over US$52bn in remittances during the financial year 2009-10.
A RBI study report released in early 2010 attributed 38% of remittances flowing into India originating from North America followed by Gulf countries accounting for 27% and Europe at 18% of the total remittances received. The World Bank estimates remittances to account for 4.2% of India’s GDP.