Thursday, November 23, 2006

Walmart Immigration Profits revisted

Sometimes you just have to wonder why one of our largest retailers manages to annoy Americans in just about every angle conceivable for a public company. We know of its issues with labor, then the healthcare benefits issue, the much lauded issue of China and manipulation of absurd trade deals with regard to the products it stocks and how they are produced, but now Walmart plans to go banking.
Banking? What do you mean? Well Walmart is heading down to Mexico to begin banking operations. This is not uncommon mind you. Locally in Richmond, we know of Ukrops Supermarkets First Market Bank relationship. But Mexico. Not exactly a growth story. Wrong. The people running Walmart while ethically challenged at times it seems sees an opportunity and is going to pounce on it.
Some may ask, so what? Well that sucking sound Ross Perot spoke of regarding NAFTA is nothing compared to the amounts of money flowing from the illegal workforce in this country through Mexico on to parts of Central America. Illegals, and they are illegals and not the "undocumented workers" some folks up 95 would like to believe send virtually all of their earned income out of our communities and back home.
Think about that. Imagine taking 95% of your income out of your community to benefit another somewhere else let alone in another country while demanding say healthcare, schooling for your children, and just about any social service program you can think be provided with no question, say for free.
How does Walmart come into play. If you ever seen the line at Walmart where it reads Customer Service, trust me when I tell you it for Western Union. Western Union is the conduit for the transfer of money via wire out of your communities to Mexico. Walmart recognizes the revenue being generated by these transactions. Walmart smells opportunity. Walmart opens banking first in Mexico then in Central American countries and capitalizes on this....Western Union out....Walmart takes over the entire transaction. Genius?
I not a big fan of Walmart. This will not help. Walmart will be able to charge for the transaction, probably based on %, then charge of fee for the recipient. All this may seem trivial, but this industry is a huge growth segment. Mexico really only has three players in terms of banks. Walmart will brand this and leverage this game.

Maybe Washington when it talks about Immigration should shift its focus away from soundbites on security, jobs and walls and concentrate on those that provide the means for the situation to exist in the first place. How would things be for illegals if the governments began regulating this little practice. Anyone can wire money. Hows about requiring all Americans to document "legal prescence" like we do at DMV before allowing a transaction. That might be a start.

Take illegals ability away and force them to follow the rules out of neccessity not out of some sense of obligation that most Americans feel that they should have toward America since they are able to work here.
Walmart intends to capatilize on this growth business and probably will successfully since Washington has been unable to muster a will to curb illegal immigration. Lets not forget that Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton presided on the Board of this Arkansas institution and has aptly dodged her relationship with Walmart because of various lawsuits facing the company over wages, health benefits and simply just flat out discrimination.
Walmart and banking? Theres no question Walmart could....the question is whether they should.


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