An Italian website which provides comparative information on the costs of sending remittances with the aim of ensuring greater transparency and clarity of information and encouraging those operating in the market to improve the products and services offered to migrants. It is the result of the shared vision and goals of its supporting partners: IOM (the International Organisation for Migration), ACLI, ARCI, ARCS, Banca Etica, CeSPI (the Centre for International Political Studies), ETIMOS, IPSIA, UCODEP and WWF Italy. The site was made possible thanks to the interest and generous contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and the Directorate-General for multilateral Economic and Financial Cooperation).
A public service aimed at migrants, that:
- is clear, easy-to-use, useful and informative;
- encourages transparency and, hence, healthy competition between those operating in the remittance transfer market;
- supports the process of the financial inclusion of migrants; and
- promotes greater awareness among migrants regarding the role they play as agents of development by sending remittances.
an independent service that is free to users and does not endorse any particular operator or institution offering money transfer products or services. The “Methodology” section below sets out the criteria for inclusion and the underlying rationale of the site content. The aim is to develop the site from an initial beta version in 2009, offering a tool (not otherwise available in Italy) that is useful in terms of the information it offers users/migrants and which enables the market to be monitored, to a more comprehensive and sophisticated version that takes into account a greater number of market operators and country corridors and which provides more in-depth information.
“mandasoldiacasa.it” was developed as follows:
In order to determine which operators to include in the surveys, it was decided to follow the methodology adopted by the World Bank, which identifies operators who hold around 60% of the remittances market share for the country corridor in question. As there is a lack of any official data in Italy enabling remittance flows to be broken down by corridor (destination country) and by operator, it was necessary to use estimates and approximations based on an analysis of the available data, input from experts and ad-hoc surveys conducted among migrant communities.
In addition to this approach, a series of weighted criteria were used in order to expand and diversify the number and type of operators considered, taking into account both Money Transfer Operators (or MTOs) and banking institutions. At this early developmental stage of the site, the process of identifying operators and the subsequent collection of data has been confined to the two main Italian cities, Rome and Milan, due to the volume of remittance flows and the size of the immigrant populations of each. The criteria adopted for the selection of operators that appear on this site have enabled an initial pilot group of operators to be identified that are representative of outgoing remittance flows from Italy to the individual country corridors identified in the two cities chosen. Selection was carried out on the basis of the following:
- comparison with the register of operators maintained by the Bank of Italy;
- comparison with the operators identified on the World Bank website;
- interviews with experts in this field;
- information supplied by operators;
- studies and dedicated literature (on migrant banking and remittances, including ABI-CeSPI research); and
- information from privileged witnesses within migrant communities in Rome and Milan regarding the operators (MTOs and banks) used for the corridors identified.
For banking institutions:
- the number (at the national level) of non-Italians holding current accounts with each bank (for the sake of simplicity, only banks with at least 1,000 foreign accountholders will be considered), as an indicator of the relative importance of each bank vis-à-vis the migrant client base;
- the proportion of each institution’s branches to the total number of bank branches in the particular area where the surveys are to be conducted (that is, in the provinces of Rome and Milan), as an indicator of geographic proximity to migrants, a key factor in determining access to banking services;
- the products and services, particularly those related to the sending of remittances, offered by each bank and specifically targeted towards immigrant clients, which information substantiates and completes the picture given by the two sets of information listed above.
The weighting of these three factors, each of which approximates a key aspect of the banking system’s role in the remittances market, has enabled us to identify an initial pilot group of banks for each area to be surveyed that may reasonably be considered the most active and significant in this market in the cities considered, namely, Rome and Milan. Naturally, as this process only gives us a rough idea of the market situation, it may have led certain institutions that are particularly active in a specific corridor to be overlooked. These could be included in the next version of the site.
More information about mandasoldiacasa.it
Monthly surveys of the remittance's costs from Italy to the 14 countries covered by the web site mandasoldiacasa.it, allow Cespi to monitor the progress of different cost's components for sending remittances. Periodically CeSPI will publish a data analysis report.