Monday, 21 September 2009

GEORGIA: Bank of Georgia offers new product on remittances market, expects growth of customers

Nino Sikhuashvili

Recognizing that remittances are one of the driving forces of the Georgian economy, a major bank is making it easier for its customers to receive funds electronically.

Bank of Georgia announced last week that it has a new service which it called “a revolutionary product in the banking system” that allows customers to receive wired funds from anywhere in the world that will be accessible through a bank-issued debit card. This will eliminate the need to visit a branch to receive cash, the bank’s General Director Irakli Gilauri told reporters.

He said he expects this service - the first of its kind in Georgia - to attract people who receive remittances from abroad through services like Western Union or Moneygram but don't have a bank account.

"Customers from other banks will also be attracted,” Gilauri said.

Exactly how much growth the bank projects, Gilauri isn't saying, but he said the bank does hope that the service will encourage Georgians to store more of their money in their bank accounts.

“Our ultimate hope is that more than 20m USD will be deposited in bank accounts annually,” he said.

Over 800, USD is transferred to Georgia from abroad annually and 45 percent out of them sends money via Bank of Georgia, according to the bank’s latest statistics.

The system will be telephone-based in which the customer who has received wired funds (USD, EUR or GEL) will enter their details into the system staffed by a live operator. Source

“Money will be transferred to the account in several minutes,” he said.

The bank will not levy a commission for transaction less than 3,000 GEL.

The service is compatible with major transfer services like MoneyGram, Anelik, Elva, Contact, Ria Money and Unistrim.

Bank of Georgia is the largest Georgian bank with 34 percent of total banking assets. It operates in Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus. It serves more than 800,000 individuals and 146,000 businesses and has 140 branches.

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