TeleMoney, a popular remittance wing of the leading bank of Saudi Arabia, Arab National Bank (ANB), plans to open about 20 model TeleMoney Centers within the next two years in a renewed effort to maximize its reach among customers and to add new services to its portfolio. “Plans are also afoot to modernize the existing TeleMoney Centers and introduce new electronic remittance services,” said Mousa Al-Askar, head of ANB’s retail centers.
Al-Askar said, “The new TeleMoney centers, including the existing TeleMoney outlets currently undergoing modernization, would help expatriate workers to remit their funds faster and without any hassle.” He said that ANB would offer phone remittance services shortly, and this will be the first to be offered in the Kingdom. “This unique service from ANB will allow a customer to remit funds from the convenience of his/her office or home through telephone instructions at any given time,” he added.
He pointed out that TeleMoney was currently offering a range of services to a number of countries including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Sudan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The services include “Rush Money” remittances to Egypt, Sudan and Jordan in two hours, and tele-remittance to the Philippines in 20 minutes. “Customers can remit funds door-to-door to all districts in Egypt within 48 hours,” he noted.
Spelling out the salient features of TeleMoney services, Al-Askar said, “ANB offers customers a secure, swift and convenient platform to remit funds through 52 dedicated TeleMoney centers, and automatically round-the-clock through the Al Arabi network of more than 827 ATMs across the Kingdom.” The networks cover Saudi Arabia and all countries currently covered by TeleMoney and SWIFT remittance services across the world.
The ANB remittance centers have been involved in educating customers about the importance of remitting money through legal channels and sending clean money, while ensuring that the funds reach the beneficiaries without problems. Foreign workers in the Kingdom have been remitting about $16 billion annually to their home countries, said Al-Askar. This represents some 60 percent of the cumulative $27 billion transferred by expatriates from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries every year.
The UAE accounts for some 15 percent with $4 billion a year, whereas Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain have the remaining $7 billion. To this end, it must be noted that there will be some changes in the pattern of remittances keeping in view the global economic downturn, said Al-Askar, referring to community initiatives being supported by TeleMoney. He said that the TeleMoney had been supporting charity events, social functions and sports events organized by expatriate groups in Saudi Arabia.
Mideast firms face $91bn refinancing needs
Middle East investment grade companies are facing refinancing needs of about $91 billion from bank and bond debt due to mature over the next four years, according to a recent report.