India Post to expand joint operation with Western Union

Mumbai: India Post, the world's largest network of post offices, is expanding joint operation with money transfer service Western Union, aiming at a larger pie of the billions of dollars annually transferred by Indian expatriates to the country. The two are discussing the future course of their ties. Western Union had entered into an agreement with India Post in 2001 to provide branded money transfer service to consumers via 900 post offices across the country. But, since then, the services have vastly expanded and now cover 8,500 post offices throughout the country.

Member of Postal Service Board Kailash Prasad, who is discussing with Western Union the future coarse of their relationship, told reporters yesterday that Overseas remittances to India has gone up almost nine times since the two entered into the agreement in 2001 but the remittances through post offices has gone up only three times, said Kailash Prasad, member, India Post. He said there is scope for further expansion of business in area even as new competitors are entering the lucrative market. Prasad said the post office is one organisation in which people have great faith and is the only body, which goes to the grass roots by providing services in even in remote rural areas.

India Post, he said, has launched a major computerisation programme to increase efficiency and diversified in several areas.

Western Union operates money transfer service in 12 states in the United States where 80 per cent of Indian-Americans live, charging $10 for transferring $500 to India. The company now has 36,000 agent locations in India and is one of the largest money transfer companies operating in the country, said Thomas McDermott, senior vice president (marketing) of Western Union.