Western Union

January 11, 2006 17:08 ET

State Bank of India to Offer Western Union Money Transfer Service; SBI Now Part of Western Union's Agent Network in India, Through an Alliance with Western Union's Authorized Agent, Kuoni Travels

DENVER--(CCNMatthews - Jan 11, 2006) -

Western Union, a worldwide leader in money transfer services, announced that its authorized Agent, Kuoni Travels, has entered into an agreement with the State Bank of India Ltd (SBI) to provide inbound money transfer services. The State Bank of India is the largest bank in India and one of the top 100 banks in the world. SBI has more than 9,000 branches in India and has a presence in more than 32 countries worldwide. Through this landmark agreement, Western Union Money Transfer® Services now will be available at more than 200 branches of State Bank of India, with more to be added during 2006.

According to the World Bank's report on Global Economic Prospects 2006, India receives the highest amount of remittances, with US$21.7 billion sent to the country last year. This addition to Western Union's extensive Agent network in India will enable the more than 20 million Indian people living outside of their home country to stay better connected with friends and family.

"SBI is one of the biggest and probably most trusted brands in India. A lot of Indians living abroad still may have fond memories of SBI and often feel nostalgic even at the mention of the bank's name. Joining Western Union's Agent network reiterates SBI's commitment to Indians living in India and abroad to provide fast, safe and RBI-licensed money transfer services," said Mr. Hikmet Ersek, Senior Vice President, Western Union, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.

"Dating back to the early 1900's, State Bank of India has earned the trust of its customers by providing sound financial services. Our alliance with Kuoni India to offer Western Union Money Transfer services will add great value to our customers across the country, helping them receive money from abroad quickly, reliably and conveniently," said Mr. K Ashok Kini, Managing Director, State Bank of India.

"Kuoni India's extensive network, along with the high quality of service, is the main reason for our success in the many markets we have entered to date. Like Western Union and SBI, we dedicate ourselves to creating exceptional value for our customers. The addition of SBI to the Agent network will allow us to offer Western Union Money Transfer to a greater number of people across this vast nation," said Zubin Karkaria, Managing Director and CEO, Kuoni Travel Group, India.

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 4.1 million merchant locations, 1,500 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, smart and stored-value 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 and its subsidiary, Orlandi Valuta, together make up one of the world's largest money transfer networks with approximately 250,000 Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. The company's STAR Network offers PIN-secured debit acceptance at approximately 1.7 million ATM and retail locations. For more information, visit www.firstdata.com.

About Kuoni Travels India Pvt. Ltd.

Kuoni Travel Group, India, is the country's largest travel company and a 100% subsidiary of Kuoni Travel Holding, Switzerland. It was formed in 1996 through the acquisition of SOTC, India's leading tour operator. Other strategic acquisitions, such as that of SITA World Travel, a forerunner in inbound travel, have strengthened Kuoni India's leadership position as India's largest inbound operator. Kuoni India's business travel activity operates in partnership with Business Travel International (BTI).

In keeping with Kuoni's vision of providing all travel and travel-related services to travellers from, within and to India, the company has added the businesses of visa processing for embassies and consulates, electronic money transfers and travel foreign-exchange to its portfolio.

As first citizen of the Indian travel industry, Kuoni relentlessly strives to perfect the art and science of travel and deliver the ultimate travel experience to customers.

About State Bank of India

State Bank of India, the largest bank in India and one of the top 100 banks in the world, has more than 9,000 branches in India and has a presence in more than 32 countries worldwide. State Bank of India has developed into a financial super market, where all the needs of the customer can be met. In addition to the wide spectrum of products in all business segments, it provides specialized services like life insurance, mutual funds, factoring services, credit cards, capital market-related services, etc., through its subsidiaries. In the field of International Banking, SBI is the biggest player in the market. It has huge success in the remittance market with its wide international network. The Bank prides itself in being the most transparent and most trusted banks in the country. With its vast geographical presence, the Bank is present in every nook and corner of the country. With 100% computerization of its branches, it is ideally placed to meet the requirements of the NRIs remitting money to India.


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