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Informal Funds Transfer Systems


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  • Mohammed El Qorchi
  • Samuel Munzele Maimbo
  • John F. Wilson
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    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there has been increased public interest in informal funds transfer (IFT) systems. This paper examines the informal hawala system, an IFT system found predominantly in the Middle East and South Asia. The paper examines the historical and socioeconomic context within which the hawala has evolved, the operational features that make it susceptible to potential financial abuse, the fiscal and monetary implications for hawala-remitting and hawala-recipient countries, and current regulatory and supervisory responses.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Occasional Papers with number 222.

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    Length: 64
    Date of creation: 18 Aug 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfocp:222

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    Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA
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    Keywords: Financial systems; banking; remittance; remittances; foreign exchange; banking sector; banking system; remitter; state bank; financial sector; migrant; alternative remittance; money transfer; remitters; remittance business; remittance systems; capital flows; international standards; paper; money transfers; remittance transaction; banking business; informal remittances; money laundering; remittance services; banking systems; remittance system; alternative remittance systems; prudential regulation; money remittance; banking channels; informal remittance; bankers; criminal nature; law enforcement; payment systems; money laundering activities; laundering process; funds transfers; precious metals; financial crimes; terrorist financing; remittance flows; criminal activity; international transfers; supervisory frameworks; financial sector development; financial institutions; financial reforms; tax evasion; migrant worker remittances; worker remittances; remittance trade; central banking; bankrupt; workers? remittances; bank branches; money remittances; financial transaction; informal remittance systems; migrant labor remittances; domestic remittance; banking instruments; bank guarantee; remittance sender; bank account; banking services; bank of england; bank accounts; remittance recipient; bank reserves; informal transfer systems; bank notes; beneficiaries of remittances; criminal proceeds; banking institution; international remittances; cost of remittances; bank financing; cash movements; foreign asset; reporting requirements; recipients of remittances; banking information; bank branch; regulatory approach; money transfer service; supervisory standards; financial policies; remittance service; remittance fee; capital movements; banking transactions; value of remittances; remittance service providers; bank drafts; personal remittances; remittance channels; bankers association; cash remittances; banking assets; bank deposit; financial system; money launderers; law enforcement agencies; due regard; inward remittances; money transfer services; financial markets; financial abuse; bank staff; bank for international settlements; remittance mechanisms; deposit insurance; remittance network; banking institutions; regulatory measures; anti?money laundering; banking statistics; transaction cost; financial remittance; alternative remittance system; bank intermediation; banking regulations; banking laws; money transfer mechanisms; banking secrecy; banker; banking networks; remittance activity; migration; banknote; regulatory frameworks; illegal activities; drug money; customer identification; secrecy laws; laundering money; terrorist acts; drug trafficking; financial intermediaries; criminal activities; international funds transfers; negotiable instruments; laundering activities; terrorist attacks;


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    Cited by:
    1. Robert Burgess & V. Haksar, 2005. "Migration and Foreign Remittances in the Philippines," IMF Working Papers 05/111, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Nkamleu, Guy Blaise & Fox, Louise, 2006. "Taking Stock of Research on Regional Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa," MPRA Paper 15112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Marina B.V. Martin, 2009. "Hundi/hawala: the problem of definition," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 47415, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Sanjeev Gupta & Catherine A. Pattillo & Smita Wagh, 2007. "Impact of Remittanceson Poverty and Financial Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 07/38, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Freund, Caroline & Spatafora, Nikola, 2005. "Remittances : transaction costs, determinants, and informal flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3704, The World Bank.
    6. Singh, Bhupal, 2006. "Cross-border workers’ remittances: Transmission channels and measurement issues in India," MPRA Paper 12145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mohammad Joarder & Uddin Saleh, 2010. "Estimating the economic model of Hundi using micro-level data," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 61-75, June.
    8. Friedrich Schneider, 2011. "The Financial Flows of the Transnational Crime: Some Preliminary Empirical Results," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 53, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Adams, Richard Jr. & Page, John, 2005. "Do international migration and remittances reduce poverty in developing countries?," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1645-1669, October.
    10. Randall Akee, Devesh Kapur, 2012. "Remittances and Rashomon- Working Paper 285," Working Papers, Center for Global Development 285, Center for Global Development.
    11. Aiko Mineshima & Christopher Browne, 2007. "Remittances in the Pacific Region," IMF Working Papers 07/35, International Monetary Fund.
    12. repec:wbk:wbpubs:12363 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Marta Ruiz-Arranz & Paola Giuliano, 2005. "Remittances, Financial Development, and Growth," IMF Working Papers 05/234, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Gupta, Sanjeev & Pattillo, Catherine A. & Wagh, Smita, 2009. "Effect of Remittances on Poverty and Financial Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 104-115, January.
    15. Brigit Helms, 2006. "Access for All : Building Inclusive Financial Systems," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6973, August.
    16. Schneider, Friedrich, 2010. "The (Hidden) Financial Flows of Terrorist and Organized Crime Organizations: A Literature Review and Some Preliminary Empirical Results," IZA Discussion Papers 4860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).


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