The issue of family remittances worth thousands of millions of dollars annually and their ever increasing impact on the financial world and national economies was addressed during the 1st Conference on International Money Transfers, Payments & Forex Conference (IMTC) Cuba 2016, held over two days in Havana.
Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, director of IMTC & Mohr World Consulting, told The Havana Reporter that the fact that contacts with technologies now commence in early childhood is rapidly changing the industry.
Mohr was the principal organizer of the event, attended by some 80 company representatives from 14 countries that provide remittances and related financial services.
According to him, these specialized meetings facilitate an examination of the future financial transfer trends of migrants and are as such, a development tool for savings and investment.
The remittance consultant Daniel Trias and the head of business development at INTERMEX, Eduardo Azcarate, emphasized at the meeting the importance of fostering a shared knowledge and experiences culture and supporting new ideas in the sector.
A global view of remittances, the financial relationship between the United States and Cuba, the challenges facing the market and the role of cards in the industry were amongst topics included on the agenda.
Commenting on the role of cards, the first vice president of Cuba’s Central Bank (BCC) Margarita Martínez, told the press that MasterCard bank cards issued by non-U.S. banks, as well as those issued by Stonegate Bank and the Banco Popular of Puerto Rico, can be used for all operations at ATMs in Havana, following special requests for permission to process them in the country.
This is now possible thanks to the efforts made by the Cuban entities responsible for processing MasterCard and the foreign service provider that facilitates the operations.
The conditions exist within the Cuban banking network to process transactions with cards issued by U.S. banks that request services, but no U.S. dollars transfers between the two countries exist, she explained.
The use of the dollar in transactions between Cuba and the United States has been permitted since March, but to date no such transactions have occurred because the U.S. Blockade imposed prohibition on Cuban banks opening corresponding accounts in U.S. banks is still in force.
Stonegate Bank is the only U.S. financial institution authorized to issue cards for use in Cuba and is the first one to establish commercial links with the island.
Margarita Martínez said that the conference represented an opportunity to highlight the particular characteristics of financial activity on the island and to demonstrate that Cuba can ensure the safe flow of money transfers.
According to a report by the World Bank, hundreds of millions of dollars are sent to southern countries via family remittances.
The true figures are considerably higher when informal money transfer mechanisms are taken into account.Share on FB Share on TT