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Study says Latin Americans will send a record $45 billion to relatives this year

 
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10/21/2006 05:20 AM
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Study says Latin Americans will send a record $45 billion to relatives this year
Study says Latin Americans will send a record $45 billion to relatives this year

PABLO BACHELET
The Miami Herald


WASHINGTON - Latin American migrants in the United States will this year send a record $45 billion to support their relatives back home, according to a new study released Wednesday that sheds light on the powerful economic forces that are driving young migrants - both legal and illegal - to America's labor-hungry regions.

With 12.6 million migrants born in Latin America now sending an average of $300 every month, remittances from the United States should grow a brisk 51 percent since 2004, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, the biggest official lender to the region.

Based on interviews with hundreds of Latino migrants, the bank survey also revealed a darker side of the phenomenon: many Latin American nations are still unable to create attractive jobs to keep their young populations from leaving. Most interview subjects said they were either unemployed or made very little money in their home nations, and they quickly found jobs once they came to America.

The bulk of the money is coming from traditional immigrant gateway states like Florida and California. But remittance growth is fastest in places like New Mexico, Louisiana and Virginia, underscoring the dynamic linkage between the U.S. economy and the Latino immigrants, who tend to be younger and more mobile than the overall U.S. population.

Bank of America and Wachovia are two Manatee County banks offering services that facilitate transferring money to Mexico and other parts of Latin America and Europe.

Wachovia offers the Dinero Directo card, a reloadable ATM card that U.S. residents can send to relatives abroad, who can access money in the account with a PIN number. Funds can be added by the purchaser at any time and the cards can be used at more than 890,000 Visa/Plus ATM locations around the world.

"They would open an account with us and put money in a separate Dinero Directo account," a communications specialist with Wachovia told the Bradenton Herald earlier this year. "They could then send the card to a friend or any relative in Mexico or anywhere in Latin America or the Caribbean . . . It's completely safe."

Bank of America offers SafeSend, a service linked to a personal checking account that allows customers to send money to more than 4,500 paying agent locations throughout Mexico.

The SafeSend program utilizes the Banco Santander, Banorte, Bansefi, [email protected] Red de la Gente and Telecomm-Telegrafos paying agent services.

Cash is provided in Mexican pesos at what the bank claims are competitive exchange rates.

An informational video on SafeSend states that Bank of America expects up to 60 percent of its new customers over the next 10 years to be Hispanic.

Hispanics, said Luis Alberto Moreno, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, are "ready and willing" to move wherever the jobs are, "contributing to the U.S. strength."

The bank commissioned the polling firm Bendixen and Associates to interview 2,511 adults about their economic realities in the United States and in Latin America. The results were cross-checked with data from the Federal Reserve and Central Banks in Latin America.

Bendixen warned that if the United States shut its door to Hispanic immigrants, as Congress is attempting to do, the U.S. economy would be "close to collapse." Bank officials pointed out that the immigration benefits were not a one-way street: about 90 percent of the income generated by Latin American-born migrants stays in the United States, or about $460 billion.

About 20 million households in Latin America receive more than $60 billion annually from remittances worldwide, a number that dwarfs what countries receive in aid from the U.S. government and development institutions like the World Bank. In fact, remittances even exceed the $40 billion private companies are expected to invest in Latin America this year, according to data by the Institute of International Finance, a private group.

"You can see in these numbers the changing map of migration in the United States," said Donald Terry, who heads the Multilateral Investment Fund, the private-lending arm of the bank that has been tracking remittance trends for seven years.

Florida was the nation's fourth biggest sender of remittances with $3.1 billion estimated for 2006, a 26 percent jump from 2004, according to the bank. However, the study excluded Cuba, which according to earlier reports obtained more than $1 billion in remittances. This is because the bank can't cross-check the remittance data to Cuba because of U.S. sanctions against the island.

California topped all states with $13.2 billion sent, a 37 percent increase over 2004.

[link to www.bradenton.com]
* Evil Rex *

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10/21/2006 05:24 AM
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Re: Study says Latin Americans will send a record $45 billion to relatives this year
It's called global economy.
Do not believe anything I say or write.

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