By Maibe González, FI2W contributor
The flow of remittances between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. has undergone an interesting change recently, an apparent consequence of the economic recession that has affected many immigrant workers in the U.S.
Remittances — funds that immigrants send back to their home countries — are a major source of income in the Dominican Republic. Now, a leading New York-based money transfer firm, La Nacional, has reported a spectacular increase in the amount of money Dominicans are sending to the U.S.
Washington Heights, the heart of New York's Dominican community. Photo: serhio
“We have seen a significant increase in the number of money transfers made from the D.R. to the U.S.,” confirmed Reny Pena, supervisor of customer services and transfers at the company’s office in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights.
Pena said that the volume of transfers from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. grew from between 80 and 120 monthly transfers in 2006 to the current rate of about 150 transfers a day. The increase has prompted the agency to expand the department that deals with U.S.-bound remittances from one to five employees.
“All of a sudden,” Pena said “this service became an important part of our business. In the past, we did not perceive it as profitable.”