The Incoming Side of the Coin

Stephen Kuhl, CFA, Managing Director, US Financial Institutions (FI) Payments, Western Union Business Solutions

An irrefutable truth based on laws of probability is that if you flip a coin enough times, you get approximately the same number of heads as tails.

The same is true for sending and receiving money around the world. Your customers probably send about as often as they receive.

So why do so many banks and credit unions only focus on helping customers send money? Why miss out on the other half the revenue opportunity?

There’s money to be made when your customers receive funds from other countries. Just like when they send money, there’s upside for you on foreign exchange margins as well as transfer fees.

Not only this, but you also gain an intriguing competitive advantage, since many other financial institutions overlook this vital service.

Your customers are likely receiving international funds for a number of common reasons including:

  1. Payments to export a good or service
  2. Foreign investments in the U.S.
  3. Repatriation of funds held abroad
  4. Family support payments
  5. Travel
  6. Charitable donations


Take a look at your lines of business through this lens. You’re likely to find obvious clues to where incoming international transactions exist. For example, consider:

  1. Commercial lending and small business banking
  2. Private banking, trust and wealth management
  3. Cash management and treasury services
  4. Trade finance
  5. Capital markets
  6. Medical, education and travel


There’s never been a better time to kick-start this revenue stream. The U.S. and Canada are exceptionally well-positioned to attract funds. Both have solid competitive positions in the global knowledge-based economy. Plus the U.S. has a strong trade surplus position.

In a nutshell, your customers are already in the game of receiving international funds, so you might as well be their go-to partner. We can help.