Western Union Expands Initiative to Promote Community, Economic Development in Mexico; Mexican...

Western Union Expands Initiative to Promote Community, Economic Development in Mexico; Mexican State of Michoacan the Second State to Benefit from 4×1 Program



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Denver, CO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–June 23, 2006–Western Union, a global leader in money transfer services, announced today the expansion of a pioneering initiative, the 4×1 Program, to the Mexican State of Michoacan. Governor Lazaro Cardenas Batel of Michoacan and Christina Gold, President, Western Union will sign the agreement between Western Union, the State of Michoacan and participating hometown associations on Saturday, June 24, at 12:00 p.m. Central time at the Casa Michoacan, 1638 South Blue Island Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Western Union will contribute a total of $1.25 million to the program, with $250,000 earmarked for each participating state in the program. With Western Union’s participation, the 4×1 Program builds on the success of Mexico’s current 3×1 program, in which each government jurisdiction (local, state and federal) matches remittances made by U.S.-based Mexican hometown associations to communities in Mexico.

The 4×1 program helps fund development projects in Mexican communities that experience high levels of migration and poverty. With Western Union’s contribution, the 4×1 Program has the potential to leverage $5 million in funding for development projects in Mexico. The types of job-creating projects that will qualify for funding include agricultural infrastructure, natural resources conservation efforts, community-based economic development projects such as structural improvements or technical upgrades to existing small businesses, educational facilities and health care centers. Through an open application process, Western Union will review proposals from hometown associations for development projects in Mexico and match donations made by the associations for selected projects.

As the first private-sector company to participate in the program, Western Union will join hometown associations (HTAs) of Mexican migrants living in the U.S. and local, state and federal jurisdictions of the Mexican government to improve economic opportunity and quality of life in communities throughout Mexico.

“The 4×1 program provides an innovative solution to a challenging issue,” said Christina Gold, President, Western Union. “Working with Michoacan Governor Lazaro Cardenas Batel and Mexican hometown associations in California, Texas, Illinois, Nevada, and Alaska, Western Union will play an important role in strengthening communities and creating valuable job opportunities for people living in disadvantaged and underserved areas in Mexico.”

The 4×1 Program evolved from remittances made by HTAs of Mexicans living in the U.S. to their families and communities in Mexico. According to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) there are approximately 583 Mexican HTAs located in 30 states in the U.S.

About Western Union and First Data

First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) is a leading provider of electronic commerce and payment solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide. Serving 4.6 million merchant locations, 1,600 card issuers and millions of consumers, First Data powers the global economy by making it easy, fast and secure for people and businesses around the world to buy goods and services using virtually any form of payment. The company’s portfolio of services and solutions includes credit, debit, private-label, gift and other prepaid card issuing and merchant transaction processing services; money transfer services; money orders; fraud protection and authentication solutions; check guarantee and verification services through TeleCheck; as well as Internet commerce and mobile solutions. Western Union, together with its affiliates Orlandi Valuta and Vigo, are leaders in global money transfer, providing people with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send money around the world, pay bills and purchase money orders through a network of over 270,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. The company’s STAR Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at 1.9 million ATM and retail locations.

For more information, visit http://www.firstdata.com.

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Western Union Expands Initiative to Promote Community, Economic Development in Mexico; Mexican State of Michoacan the Second State to Benefit from 4×1 Program