International Conflict Makes Banking More Difficult
There was a memo circulated last week to all the branch managers at AccessBank. I was sitting with Rəhman, our Lənkəran branch manager, when the memo came around telling us that Migom, a popular money transfer service, was no longer allowed to function in Azerbaijan. Rəhman slowly mumbled out, “Why are they trying to cripple me…?”
Sure, that was a little melodramatic on his part. This comes just after our branch started a new campaign to increase money transfers through services like Migom and Western Union. One of the major goals over the next few months is to increase money transfers because they provide a really good margin. Rəhman is relatively new to the branch, arrived in February, and is working hard to find little things he can do to get the branch to the next level.
So what’s happening with Migom? It’s one of the biggest transfer services here, battling with Western Union as top dog of money transfers in Azerbaijan. Apparently, in 2008 a similar edict was issued for Western Union for two weeks. It turns out that the ruling is coming from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan. It turns out that both of these wire services work in Nagorno-Karabak and other occupied territories:
The system was suspended due to illegal operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is occupied by Armenia, the banks reported.
MIGOM earlier received warnings against performing such operations. After briefly suspending their activities in the region, however, the CBA decision indicates that MIGOM recommenced money transfers to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Similar warnings were provided to Western Union and MoneyGram. The banks suspended their operations July 30, 2008 and resumed their activities Aug. 14, 2008.