Payday Lending & Remittances

Learn more about ACORN Canada's groundbreaking campaigns regulate payday lending and international remittances and money transfers.

Ottawa Metro: ACORN Canada takes on Western Union’s fees

A five per cent cut in remittance fees would free $16B globally: World Bank

Ottawa ACORN picketed a downtown payday loan outlet to protest what they say are excessive fees companies like Western Union charge immigrants to send money back to their home countries.

In order to send $106 to his brother and sister in Afghanistan, Tahir Nazari said he had to pay a $13 fee, a bite of about 12 per cent.

“I think it is not fair,” he said.

Western Union spokesman Daniel Diaz said sending is cheaper than it used to be, because increased competition and other factors have actually driven their fees down in past decade.

“We take pride in offering consumers excellent value for their dollar,” he said. “This does not always mean that we are the lowest-priced service provider.”

While there are many other options for transferring money internationally, ACORN says Western Union, which is heavily advertised, is the most accessible for people who are not familiar with the banking system, and in some parts of the world it is the only local option available.

Original article available t: http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/local/article/1068487--acorn-takes-on-western-union-s-fees

Press Release: Stop the Rip-offs! Toronto ACORN Demands 5 Percent Cap on Remittance Fees

Members of Toronto ACORN will be rallying at 241 Yonge Street in front of the Money Mart, to protest the high cost of remittance fees charged through Western Union.

"We often have no other choice," says Toronto ACORN member Ahmed Makhlouf. "Western Union is more convenient and faster than banks, especially when it is an urgent situation." Makhlouf believes the transfer fees charged are too high. "It's big money, a big fight."

These fees, running between 10%-20% in some cases, prey on the already vulnerable populations of low income families, new Canadians and those simply supporting loved ones living abroad.

Toronto ACORN is calling on Western Union to lower the fees - and for the Provincial Government to step in and regulate this industry. We see charges and fees on top of the World Bank's 5% fee recommendation as predatory, and as a result, are holding the provincial government accountable for this gouging of Ontario families and families in the developing world.

Quick Facts on Remittances

-The difference between what is paid in fees currently in Canada, and the amount that would be paid under the World Banks suggested fee structure is nearly $500 million per year.

-The World Bank estimates that more than $400 Billion (USD) is remitted annually, with 75% of this amount going from developed to developing countries.

-The World Bank estimates that the fees associated with this are $44.4 billion globally.

WHAT: Media event calling on Provincial Governments to regulate remittances fees at or below the the World Bank's recommended amount of 5% of money transferred.

WHEN: Thursday November 10th, 1:00PM

WHERE: Money Mart (Western Union) at 241 Yonge St, north of Queen St.

Press Contact: Tatiana Jaunzems, Community Organizer

Cell: 416-450-0341

Office: 416-416-9233

Email: onacornto4@acorncanada.org

Ottawa ACORN keeps the pressure on for fair remittances

Joined by member of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Ottawa ACORN members rallied at a local Western Union location last month calling for lower fees on remittances.  Lead by leader Adrian Profitos, members ensured Western Union’s CEO received our message when staff at the location agreed to fax a draft letter by local leaders.

During the action members held a street petition and spoke to passing citizens about the impact high-cost remittances have on working families in Canada and those in the developing world.

Burnaby puts Western Union on notice

Last month Burnaby ACORN continued to take the leadership role in the campaign to win regulation of remittance providers like Western Union.  Lead by dynamic leaders from Burnaby, we’ve put Western Union and regulators on notice that working families are demanding remittance justice.

BC ACORN rallied at a prominent Burnaby Western Union location that was covered by The Tyee, Burnaby Now, Epoch Times, the CBC and BC Local News where members called on Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek to meet with ACORN Canada.

 

Vancouver Sun: High fees cut into remittances sent to homelands

In Pascal Apuwa's global village, parts of the neighbourhood aren't too friendly.

The Burnaby resident immigrated to Canada in 2006 and regularly transfers money back to his relatives in drought-ravaged western Kenya. But the 20-per-cent-plus fees he pays to transfer agents are cutting into Apuwa's ability to support his family.

Read the full story here.

 

 

Op-Ed: Canadian government allowing migrant worker ripoffs on remittances

*Below is an op-ed that has been submitted to a number of Canadian newspapers from ACORN Canada & ACORN International*

The Canadian government can no longer afford to be apathetic towards the plight of migrant workers' remittances when they are behind a guest-worker program that accepts candidates based on low levels of education and strong family ties. With such criteria it is unimaginable that the government would be unaware of the role of remittances in the lives of these workers’ families.

Every year, 20,000 workers from Mexico and the Caribbean, mostly men, make the journey to work in Canada’s agricultural sector, largely in southern Ontario and British Columbia. These migrant workers are brought to Canada through the government sponsored Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) for up to eight months. The program describes its function as matching “workers from Mexico and the Caribbean countries with Canadian farmers who need temporary support during planting and harvesting seasons, when qualified Canadians or permanent residents are not available.”

Toronto Star: ACORN Canada urges cap on remittance fees

Rassel Mohammad pays a hefty price to help out his two widowed aunts and six school-age cousins in Bangladesh.

Once every three months, the Toronto man strolls into the Western Union outlet in his neighbourhood Money Mart to wire money to relatives — on top of supporting his mother, wife and four-month-old daughter here in Canada.

He sends $100 each time, but also ends up paying an $11 fee. Western Union’s fee rises to $17 if he sends the same amount using his cellphone.

“It’d be nice if they can keep the fee lower,” said Mohammad, 32, a warehouse shipping clerk.

By far the best-known remittance service for its reach around the world, Western Union is the target of a campaign launched recently by ACORN Canada, an advocacy group for low-income families.

“Many of our members are directly affected by the exorbitant fees banks and other financial institutions are charging for money transfers,” said ACORN [Canada] president Kay Bisnath. The group is petitioning Western Union to cap its remittance rate at 5 per cent.

Bisnath said the rate is recommended by the World Bank in light of a $325 billion yearly cash flow — $7.5 billion in Canada alone — from 215 million migrants sending money to family members in developing countries.

Pages