A while back I wrote about the huge volume of money flowing from Latin American immigrants back to their home countries. In 2004 immigrants to the United States sent home US $30 Billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”).
In some cases the money is used to fund small business startups back in the home country.
Now, Juan Tornoe at the excellent Hispanic Trending blog, notes that major U.S. banks want a cut of this funding stream, as part of their strategy to attract the Latino market. The banks are offering to send money with no fees whatsoever, in the hopes of attracting credit card and mortgage business from the immigrants.
Who may be losing out? The wire transfer companies and small corner stores in ethnic neighborhoods currently wiring money back home, that’s who. Quoting a Chicago Tribune article:
“Major banks still make up only 3 percent of a market dominated by wire-transfer companies and mom-and-pop stores. But the rush is on, according to banking experts.”
Juan’s own observations about being an immigrant to the United States from Guatemala were recently published in Marketing y Medios — check out what Juan has to say.