Before the holidays, millions of hard-working men and women gather the money they have saved throughout the year, go to a local Western Union office and wire it to their relatives throughout the developing world. Up to 20% of these savings can go straight into the pocket of money transfer organizations in fees, allowing companies to make billions of dollars in profit on the backs of the world's neediest.
Slashing the obscene profits of companies like Western Union would dramatically increase assistance flowing into developing countries. Instead, families around the world received far less than they deserved so that Western Union's CEO could take home $8.1 million in 2009.
The World Bank recommends that transfer companies limit fees to 5% of the amount being transferred, but some banks and companies have astronomical hidden charges. Perversely, the neediest countries coming out of war or disaster suffer the greatest losses, because of transfer companies' monopolistic privileges and exclusive deals with local banks.
Western Union has never faced a public outcry to challenge its shameless profiteering. If we raise our voices loudly to challenge their predatory fees, we can threaten their corporate brand enough to compel them to act.
AVAAZ Petition: As citizens from around the world committed to eradicating global poverty, we call on you to show true corporate leadership and take immediate steps to ensure crucial international remittances to the world’s poorest countries are subject to fair rates. Specifically, we ask you to lower your total fees to a maximum of 5% in all transfers sent home by workers to developing nations.
Sign now -- and we’ll deliver it to the company’s image-sensitive board of directors when the petition reaches 250,000 signers.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.