Money across boundaries


The continuous growth of employment opportunities in the Middle East is creating more room for expats. This is driving money transfers from this region to a host of countries across the globe. In a conversation with Capital Business, Sudhesh Giriyan, Vice President and Business Head, Xpress Money talks about the remittances in this part of the world and the latest agreements in this sector.


What are the upcoming trends in remittances in the Middle East?

The Middle East is one of the largest and most important send markets in the world. According to the World Bank report 2012, India received the highest remittance of $ 32.97 Billion from the Middle East, followed by Egypt at$ 14.18 Billion and Pakistan at$ 6.9 Billion. Over the last few years, the Middle East has witnessed an increase in the number of skilled workforce, which has led to an increase in the value of transactions. Owing to upcoming global events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Qatar World Cup 2022, the demand for migrants will further increase; this will lead to the creation of more employment opportunities as these nations, gear up to play host to millions of business and leisure tourists. Estimates suggest that more than 255,000 employment opportunities will be created in Dubai alone, thanks to the World Expo 2020. The entry of new Money Transfer Operators (MTOs), the open remittance architecture in certain markets and innovative services have led to healthy competition, thus reducing the costs of remittances. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are ideal examples where cost in sending money is the lowest, thanks to competition between MTOs.

There is also an emerging trend of alternate channels of remittance from the send markets, which, according to the latest World Bank report of 2014, will have a significant influence on further lowering the remittance costs.


Which countries are mainly getting money transfers from this region?

The South Asian region is the major recipient of remittances from the Middle East countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and they have seen an increase in remittances, as a result of the constant rise in labor requirements for the on-going infrastructural developments in the Gulf. UAE to India is the largest corridor in the region at $ 15.685 billion followed by Saudi Arabia to India which is at $ 8.382 billion.

According to the International Money Transfer Conferences, the Middle East region receives $ 39.587 billion in remittance. Egypt tops the list with at $ 20.515 billion followed by Lebanon at $ 7.472 billion. 



How are money transfer companies ensuring security and compliance in their transactions?

The exchange house has to ensure that its systems and transactional procedures comply with the AMLA (Anti Money Laundering Act) and its rules and regulations. This involves scrutiny and due diligence by an MTO before completing each customer transaction ensuring that strict KYC norms are implemented. For instance, we have the XPIN number, a 16-digit unique identification code generated for each transaction. This XPIN number is sent to the beneficiary on the receive side to ensure security. Adherence to the KYC compliance is mandatory at Xpress Money, while receiving money at the agent location.


What are the latest agreements in this industry? What is their impact on new providers?

One of the latest developments in the remittance industry is the new capital adequacy requirements announced by the UAE Central Bank this year. The new norms have raised capital requirements for currency exchange houses. For the existing money transfer players, this norm has no impact as they are established and well positioned to adhere to the norms. In a way, these norms are good for the industry, as it will bring in more stability and maturity to the industry, even if such a new norm will mean additional investment for new players.


How is Xpress Money continuously developing innovative payment solutions to satisfy the expatriate community in different parts of the world?

Customers have always been at the heart of our business; this has been affirmed through the various innovative customer-centric products and services that we have launched over the past few years. Besides Cash-to-Cash which is our core offering, we have recently launched an innovative co-branded prepaid remittance card in India which facilitates beneficiaries to access inbound remittances through ATMs as well as use the card to pay for merchandise at PoS terminals. We also offer services like Cash-to-Account, in which funds are transferred directly to the beneficiary's bank account. We have the Direct Account Credit Service to 30 countries in Europe where customers can do direct transfer to accounts in more than 1,500 banks in the region. Door Delivery services, Mobile Money Transfer and Online Money Transfer are other key offerings, we offer our customers in various corridors. Xpress Money has tied up with Safaricom to offer money transfer services on their M-Pesa platform in Kenya. In their first phase, the M-Pesa service on Xpress Money channels have been rolled in UK, UAE, KSA and Qatar. This partnership has boosted the m-wallet concept which is championed by Safaricom, making it convenient for Xpress Money’s customers to receive money in Kenya. 


How do you work on achieving your goal of being closer to the customer?

Xpress Money is present in more than 150 countries in five continents across 170,000 agent locations and is continuously growing their network. With such a vibrant global presence, Xpress Money has come to be known as the most dependable international money transfer brand in the remittance space. Xpress Money has always been at the forefront when it comes to community support initiatives as well.  H.O.P.E or Helping Our People and Environment is a platform where all the CSR activities and community initiatives of Xpress Money are consolidated for seamlessness in spirit and execution. H.O.P.E aims to reach out to the needy across geographies- both send and receive remittance markets where Xpress Money has a presence.


What are your plans for the coming years?

We aim to be to be present in every part of the world by the end of 2015. Our focus will also be on growing alternate channels such as Mobile Wallets and Online Money Transfer. Apart from network expansion plans, we also intend to work towards migrant training and orientation programs. The brand is active on creating financial literacy through many grass root initiatives in multiple markets. CSR and community engagement too, will be things that we will be involved in.



About Sudhesh Giriyan

Sudhesh Giriyan is the Vice President and Business Head at Xpress Money. In his current role, he is responsible for the overall strategy, operations and profitability of Xpress Money in the diverse international markets that it operates in.

Sudhesh has been a part of the Xpress Money family for almost a decade, and has played an integral role in shaping up the marketing, customer service management, and market research efforts for the company.

 Sudhesh holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B), and a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Karnataka, India. He has also completed the prestigious Management Development Program from IIM, Bangalore.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *