Wells Fargo & Co., California's second-biggest bank, said Tuesday that it had formed a partnership with Grupo Financiero Banorte to increase its wire-transfer outlets by more than a third in Mexico.
The agreement will allow customers to send money to Banorte's 1,000 bank branches and access the cash at 2,500 automated teller machines throughout the country, the San Francisco-based company said. That brings the total number of Mexican remittance sites for Wells Fargo customers to more than 4,000 offices and 10,700 ATMs.
Wells Fargo Chief Executive Richard Kovacevich is trying to win more business from Latinos, the fastest-growing part of the U.S. population, by offering low-cost money transfer services.
Immigrants send more money to Latin America from California than from any other state, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank.
Last year, Mexico received about $14.5 billion in remittances, most of which came from the U.S., the development bank said.
"It's a good move for Wells Fargo to expand the number of locations," said Gwenn Bezard, a financial services analyst at Celent Communications in New York. "The problem, though, with U.S. banks is that they're competing with so many money transfer services it's hard to gain a big market share."
Wells Fargo, the nation's fourth-biggest bank, charges $8 to send as much as $3,000 to Mexico. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Western Union Financial Services Inc., a division of First Data Corp., offer similar services.
In addition to Banorte, Mexico's fourth-biggest bank, Wells Fargo has money transfer partnerships with HSBC Mexico, a unit of HSBC Holdings, and Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer, Mexico's biggest bank.
Wells Fargo shares rose 32 cents to $59.34 on the New York Stock Exchange.