Western Union celebrates first anniversary in Myanmar with nationwide service coverage

Pre-departure awareness program funded by the Western Union Foundation
and local banks to support Myanmar workers going overseas

Online PR News – 23-May-2014 – YANGON, MYANMAR – YANGON, MYANMAR – The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, today marked its first anniversary in Myanmar with a special celebration in Yangon, themed “Journey to Prosperity.”

In attendance at the event was Mrs. Thida Myo Aung, Deputy Director General, Financial Institution Supervision Department, Central Bank of Myanmar, Mr. Kieran Gorman-Best, Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration, and executives from nine of the country’s leading banks.

Western Union is one of the first global money transfer companies to provide service in Myanmar, paving the way for formalized international money transfers after sanctions were eased in 2012. Since its official service launch at the beginning of 2013 with just over 100 Agent locations in the key commercial towns, the Western Union® Money TransferSM service is now available at over 460 Agent locations1 across the country. Chin State, a mountainous area and one of the most difficult-to-access states in Myanmar for financial services, is the latest state to be covered with Western Union’s international service in collaboration with Cooperative Bank.

The recent signing of Yoma Bank as Western Union’s ninth agent in Myanmar will add over 50 locations and consolidates Western Union’s position as the largest international money transfer in Myanmar, linking consumers here with one of the world’s largest money transfer networks with over 500,000 locations in over 200 countries and territories.

Thida Myo Aung, Deputy Director General, Financial Institution Supervision Department, Central Bank of Myanmar said: “Myanmar has made great strides over the past two years. Our own journey to prosperity has been made possible thanks to companies like Western Union, whose vision to make the world a smaller and more connected place has brought numerous benefits to the people and economy of Myanmar.”

Ly Nguyen, Regional Director for Indochina and Myanmar, Western Union said: “This is a very important milestone and a proud moment for Western Union. We have made tremendous progress in the past year and thank the Myanmar Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance and our agent partners for their vision and collaboration. Together, we are fulfilling a very important financial need of Myanmar people and their loved ones around the world.

“As Myanmar’s economy continues to grow and develop, Western Union hopes to play a small but key role in connecting the world to Myanmar and thereby create new possibilities and opportunities.”

International money transfer is an essential service for Myanmar diaspora living overseas and their families, serving as a vital link for regular financial support, education, medical and gifts for special occasions.

Myanmar emigrants form a large and significant diaspora, with over two million people living and working in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Middle East, United States, Europe, Australia and other countries.

To date, consumers in Myanmar have received remittances through Western Union from 143 countries and territories.

Western Union’s Agents in Myanmar include Ayeyarwady Bank, Co-operative Bank, First Private Bank, Global Treasure Bank, Kanbawza Bank, Myanmar Apex Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, United Amara Bank and Yoma Bank.

Pre-departure awareness program for Myanmar migrant workers announced

To mark the first year anniversary in Myanmar, at event, Western Union and its Agents announced their sponsorship of an International Organization for Migration (IOM) program aimed at promoting awareness of safe migration among Myanmar workers.
The program “Promoting Pre-Departure Awareness for Myanmar Migrant Workers,” has been made possible through a US$62,000 grant and targets source communities of lower-skilled migrant workers in Myanmar seeking employment in neighboring countries including the Lower Mekong region. The program aims to establish a fully functional Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) in Myanmar and will raise awareness among potential migrant workers about safe migration and rights and obligations in their destination countries. The program will cover ways in which migrants can better protect themselves, financial literacy, and awareness of the cultural and societal norms in Thailand and Malaysia.
Western Union, together with Myanmar Oriental Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank, Kanbawza Bank and Co-operative Bank, has pledged to support this program. All funds raised by the four banks are being matched by the Western Union Foundation.
Mr. Kieran Gorman-Best, IOM Myanmar Chief of Mission, said: “We are pleased to have such great support from Western Union and its Agents in Myanmar. This initiative will draw on IOM’s expertise in establishing and running Migrant Resource Centres worldwide and also draw on Western Union’s valuable knowledge of international workers. IOM and Western Union share the same objective: to support Myanmar’s migrant workers and their families to be better prepared for their journey abroad, and to successfully adapt and integrate to their new living and working environment in a way that respects their rights, prevents abuse and offers them the opportunity to benefit economically from migration."
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2014, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs. In 2013, The Western Union Company completed 242 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $82 billion of principal between consumers, and 459 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

About International Organization for Migration (IOM)
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. As the leading international organization for migration, IOM acts with its partners in the international community to: (1) Assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management, (2) Advance understanding of migration issues, (3) Encourage social and economic development through migration, and (4) Uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants. IOM has an annual operating budget of approximately $1.3 billion and some 8,400 staff working in over 150 countries worldwide, with over 350 staff in Myanmar alone. IOM currently has 155 Member States, including Myanmar. IOM implements over 20 projects in Myanmar ranging in scope from anti-human trafficking, promotion of safe migration among migrants, cooperation with the Government of Myanmar on effective management of labour migration, and technical collaboration and services for the health of migrants and host communities. For more information, please visit www.iom.int