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WASHINGTON – The White House announced on January 13 that the Federal Reserve bank in Atlanta will sometime “later this year” host a summit dedicated to cutting the cost of sending money to Mexico and other Central and South American countries in half. The conference will specifically focus “on establishing regionally compatible electronic payment systems,” the White House said. “The conference will bring together financial sector leaders and payment system experts to discuss ways to reduce the cost of transfer, including sharing experiences with automated clearinghouses (ACH) and other electronic payment systems, and exploring ways to harmonize payment systems in the region and build regional electronic payments interchanges,” the White House added. Immigrants have tripled the amount of money they send home to their families in the last six years and now send over $32 billion annually in the Western Hemisphere, the White House said. This is more than four times official development assistance flows to the region. Remittances represent the largest source of foreign capital for many of the poorest countries in the hemisphere and account for more than 10% of the gross domestic product in Nicaragua, Haiti, Guyana, El Salvador, Jamaica and Honduras.

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