Banking authorities have shut down two companies that specialize in money transfers for Brazilian immigrants in the United States.
The government closed InterTransfers, Inc., and its subsidiary, Global Money Remittance, Inc., of Miami following reports that the companies failed to transmit customer funds to the intended recipients.
The news of the shutdown sent shock waves within Brazilian communities from Massachusetts all the way down to Florida, where both companies were widely popular for sending money to relatives in Brazil.
Both companies are owned by Iraci R. Oliveira, with main offices at 25 SE 2nd Avenue, Miami, Fla., with authorized agent locations up and down the east coast.
InterTransfers, licensed in Connecticut since 2005, has eight authorized agent locations and transferred nearly $3.5 million from Connecticut consumers in 2012. Global has been licensed since 2008, has 10 authorized agent locations and transferred more than $2.5 million in the same fiscal year.
The Commissioner of Banks in Massachusetts suspended the licenses for both InterTransfers and Global to transfer money on April 10.
Both Global and InterTransfers failed to notify the Connecticut Commissioner of Banks of the suspension, which is a violation of Connecticut law.
The Connecticut Commissioner of Banks also found that since March 2013, Global had failed to transfer as much as $147,779 within the required week of the purchase, also a violation of banking regulations.
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation also issued cease and desist orders against InterTransfers and Global Money Remittance after complaints from customers that their orders weren’t going through.
Money transferring in numbers
In 2012, the World Bank estimated that the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region saw a slight increase in remittance inflows, reaching an estimated $62 billion. Mexico dominated the remittances, accounting for 37 percent of total remittances to the region in 2012, and receiving four times more than Brazil, the next-largest recipient.
Flows to Mexico fell during the second half of 2012 and the first two months of 2013, as the peso appreciated against the U.S. dollar. Still, growth in remittance flows to other LAC countries, including Brazil, Guatemala and El Salvador has more than offset the reduced flows to Mexico, yielding positive growth in flows to the region overall.
The United States is the largest source of remittances to the Latin America and Caribbean region, accounting for 73 percent of the total inflow in 2011. Improvements in the U.S. housing market and recovery in the employment of migrant workers are projected to underpin stronger growth in remittances for 2013-2015, exceeding the 2008 peak in 2013 and rising to more than $81 billion in 2015.
These billions of dollars for the most part reach their destination by passing through the hands of small business owners who affiliate themselves with money transferring companies. They provide the service for a flat fee or small percentage of the amount to be transferred.
Customers who suspect their money transfer was not fulfilled should file a claim with the Connecticut Department of Banking, said the agency