MoneyGram’s ambitious expansion
drive has taken another step forward with the acquisition of Blue
Dolphin Financial Services, a retail remittance agency with 18
branches in Belgium and the Netherlands. Blue Dolphin, which has
been a MoneyGram agent since 2005, adds to retail branches operated
by MoneyGram in France and Germany.
“Blue Dolphin has exceeded our
expectations as an agent and we’re eager to grow both locations and
transactions across this important remittance region,” said John
Hempsey, MoneyGram’s executive vice-president of Europe, Middle
East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
The region is a key source of
remittances for Turkey and many countries in Europe and Africa, he
Commenting on the acquisition Leon
Isaacs, MD of the International Association of Money Transfer
Networks, said it will strengthen MoneyGram’s presence in an often
“Traditionally it is one of the
regions where it is harder to establish networks and although the
PSD [Payments Service Directve] will help it will take some time,”
MoneyGram is also pursuing growth
in Asia, where in its latest move it has formed an agency alliance
with Vietnamese bank Sacombank.
The alliance adds the bank’s 253 branches to MoneyGram’s
distribution network, until now limited to its other Vietnamese
partner, DongA Bank’s 130 branches.In a busy period of expansion
for the world’s number two remittance service provider since the
start of 2010, MoneyGram announced in January an alliance with one
of China’s big-four banks, Bank of China (BoC).
This move will see MoneyGram’s services extended to BoC’s 10,000
branches throughout China by the end of 2011.In another notable
development, MoneyGram and the Philippines’ largest mobile network
operator, Smart Communications, teamed up to launch a pilot service
enabling consumers in Hong Kong and San Diego in the US to remit
funds via mobile phones to Smart customers in Philippines.
MoneyGram is also looking to Japan for growth, where in
partnership with Japanese asset management company SBI Holdings it
will take advantage of a regulatory change that from April 2010
permits non-financial companies to offer money transfer services.
The service, SBI Remit, will be internet-based.