International money fees need regulating

Over and again, we see that the generosity of individuals far outweigh that of states.

While governments are often miserly in their support of the world’s desperate poor, relatives of those poor send staggering amounts of money home.

Haitians living in North America sent home almost five times as much money as our own government to assist Haiti after the earthquake.  This generosity accounts for a third of Haiti’s GDP.

People likely believe that’s the way it should be; families helping one another is a reasonable expectation.

But  transactions have to go through financial institutions, which can charge fees up to 20 per cent of the value of the transaction. This is a terrible tax on the poor.

How would most Canadians feel if their banks charged them a 20 per cent fee to send a cheque home to mom, or to give to an overseas charity?

Some institutions like Haiti’s Fonkoze have found that a transfer can be done for a five per cent fee and still provide reasonable profits.

Canadians regulate our financial industry to protect local consumer interests, and yet we allow some banks to charge usurious fees on what amounts to foreign aid.

These transfer fees must be regulated. It is patently immoral that we allow our financial institutions to skim so much wealth intended for the world’s poorest.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria