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Money 20/20 Special: Interview with Sudhesh Giriyan, COO, Xpress Money Services

Xpress Money is a company focussed on tackling the global problem of financial inclusion. Founded in 1999, Xpress Money is the remittance arm of the Travelex and UAE Exchange family, and was launched as an affordable instant money transfer service. Since then, the company has striven to enable migrants to send and receive cash from a network of locations across the world and, whilst doing so, has become one the fastest growing remittance companies in the world, with over 200,000 locations in 165 countries.

We sat down to chat with Sudhesh Giriyan, Chief Operating Officer at Xpress Money, to discuss how they have got to this point, where they are going next, and what fintech means for improving financial inclusion – both in the western and developing worlds.

 

Hi Sudhesh, great to talk with you. Can you give us a quick explanation of what you guys are up to right now?

We are a growing organisation, reaching many countries year after year, and on track to keep expanding into these different markets. We have spent a lot of our time in places that are not that advanced, the ones in the developing world. We are all over the place, utilising technologies such as mobile wallets and the like. We also have very, very strong partnerships with non-profit organisations, fintech companies, banks, telecoms, and international corporations, and retail partners.

And how about yourself, how did you end up with Xpress Money? Have you always been working in this area?

I have been working with the firm for 14 years now. And I have seen a lot of expansion and partnerships going on in many countries. Prior to this I had experience in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), and I have found that there is a lot of commonality between the two. FMCG involves a lot of management, situations in which you have a distributor and retailer. Similarly today, with our business, we have a super-agent at the top that we have other agents below, which almost mimics the FMCG model. The experience that I have in FMCG and in the consumer delivery industry has definitely come in handy, even though it was many years back. There are lot of things that I implemented back then, that I have been also able to implement here in this industry.

Talking about the different places in which you operate – how do you see the differences between the more emerging markets and the fully developed ones in their approach to cryptocurrencies?

I have said this in the past, that we really have to look at the way in which Africa has embraced technology, especially in their usage of mobile wallets. I don’t think there is better example of adoption of this technology than Africa – it is likely that an African country will be the first to fully adopt a cryptocurrency system. I am, however, unable to say with any finality as to what specific country in Africa that would actually be, to take on this challenge.

Who would you say is leading the pack right now in terms of these developments?

Nigeria is a country have been in the news a lot recently, they are a very important market from a global perspective, particularly as they are one of the largest recipients of remittance, with some interesting rules also. Nigeria has again embrace the mobile wallet-technology so that’s why it may be one of the first countries to fully adopt cryptocurrency.

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