Terror-linked Saudi bank launches major remittance program to PakistanApril 13, 2010
Somewhere in Pakistan, a Taliban cleric is waiting on his pay day from his Saudi masters. And a new program just might help him out.
The mysterious (putting it politely) Al Rajhi Bank (and its “Tahweel Al-Rajhi Remittance Centers”) has gotten together with Pakistan’s largest bank to make transferring funds from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan easier.
The bankers assure us that this has been examined by FATF. They even say it will help prevent illegally transferred funds. But although bank transfers may theoretically be better than hawala, does the world really need more than the six billion more Saudi riyals that are already being transferred from Arabia to Pakistan annually? From Khaleej Times on Apr. 10:
JEDDAH — Tahweel Al Rajhi of Saudi Arabia and Habib Bank Ltd have introduced a new remittance product called ‘HBL Fast Cash’ in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The free-of-charge Fast Cash, which ensures instant transfer of funds to the beneficiaries in Pakistan, requires no bank account for either the remitter or the beneficiary.
Hazem Elhagrasey, head of Tahweel Al Rajhi, who announced the launch, said, “The new service will assure that the beneficiaries will receive payments in cash within minutes in Pakistan.”
Zahid Raza Khan, counsellor at the Pakistan Embassy, and Tariq Matin Khan, HBL’s general manager for financial institutions and international banking, were present during the announcement. Elhagrasey said up to 500,000 Pakistan rupees could be sent from Saudi Arabia to any HBL branch in Pakistan through the programme. “The beneficiary will receive an SMS alert for collection at no additional cost,” he added. Matin Khan said the HBL, with over 1,450 branches, is the largest bank in Pakistan with a domestic market share of over 40 per cent.
“The remitters can benefit from the huge HBL network to send money to any nook or corner of Pakistan. Fast Cash is offered to customers free of charge as part of the State Bank of Pakistan’s programme to reward customers who send money via banking channels,” he added.