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Money remittance firms face extinction as they lose lifeline bank accounts

Pacssi2 (250x205)Migrant communities in Australia will lose their ability to send money home, to family and friends safely and securely if banks continue their plans to close the accounts of remitters, said the newly formed Australian Remittance and Currency Providers Association or ARCPA which aims to work with the Government and the banking industry to save these critical remittance services.

Spoke person of the group  Dianne Nguyen, director of ARCPA,  said,  “Without bank accounts in Australia, money transfer providers cannot complete the transfer of their customer’s funds to destination counties.”

“This means,”  Dianne Nguyen said, “hundreds and thousands of Filipino migrants will no longer be able to support their families and communities overseas.”

For many Filipinos living in Australia, the low cost, secure money transfer services of registered remitters is the only way they can send their essential funds home safely and securely. These funds are considered a lifeline to the many communities that depend on them.

In recognition of the significant impact of the action by major Australian banks, the new organisation ARCPA which is made up of Australia’s regulated money remittances and currency providers has ben formed.

Dianne Nguyen said, “Our members are an integral part of  all  local communities. Thy provide s safe, essential low cost and fast service to send funds to relatives and communities overseas, many of these transfers are a lifeline to the recipients.

“Our members’ services often go above and beyond the services provided by the banks. In some cases we hand deliver funds in locations that are impossible to reach and where customers do not have a bank or bank account. Our services are critical to many communities, both here in Australia and overseas.”

Dianne Nguyen said, “This situation is urgent.”

Since 2010, major Australian national and regional banks and Australian branches of foreign banks started  to close the accounts of remittance providers. Westpac, the last of the major four Australian banks to offer remittance services, will close remitters’ accounts by the end of November 2014. This is a disaster for remittance providers, as they will have no options for banking in Australia.

Banks cited the risk of remittances being used for  money laundering and terrorism financing as the reason for closing off the industry, despite the average remittance transaction amounting to only AUD $300 and the majority of destination countries being low risk.

“Our customers will be forced to pay more expensive and cumbersome transactions through banks and seek alternative, unregulated and underground options,’ said ARCPA.

“Members of ARCPA are regulated remitters. As an association we are working on professional standards to provide even greater confidence to the banks. We feel that the stance taken by the banks is unnecessary and  unfair.”

ARPA has started discussions with the Australian Government and is campaigning to find a collaborative solution with the stakeholders involved.

ARCPA is calling on the Filipino  community  to voice their concerns by signing a petition online  from this link,

Members of community are urged to visit  their local money transfer  businesses to pick up a petition letter which will be mailed to the local MP.