What is MoneyGram?

Published by Thomas Herold in Economics

'MoneyGram' is explained in detail and with examples in the Economics edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.

Money Gram is the name of the money transfer firm headquartered within the U.S. in Dallas, Texas. Its full name is MoneyGram International. The company’s operations center is located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The corporation maintains both regional and locally based offices throughout the globe.

The company divides its various businesses along the lines of two different groups. These are Global Funds Transfers and Financial Paper Products. Using its proprietary network of financial institution clients and agents found around the world, the firm assists both businesses and individuals in transferring money and with various financial paper instruments.

As the number two biggest money transfer service in the world, Money Gram is second only to Western Union. The firm does business in over 200 nations and possesses a worldwide network equating to approximately 347,000 agent offices.

The creation of Money Gram International occurred because two independent businesses merged. This was the Travelers Express of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Integrated Payment Systems of Denver, Colorado. Integrated Payment Systems first set up Money Gram as a subsidiary unit. They spun it off into an independent firm which Travelers then acquired in 1998. By 2004, Travelers Express had opted to change its name to today’s MoneyGram International.

The Global Funds Transfers division covers two services. These are the MoneyGram Money Transfer service and the MoneyGram Bill Payments Services. The bill payment group helps individuals to effect rapid payments as well as to pay normally occurring bills to various creditors.

The Financial Paper Products division vends several financial payment instruments. These include Money Orders and Official Checks. The Money Orders group represents the second biggest supplier of such money orders in the world. As an official check provider, Money Gram provides outsourcing services for bank checks to financial institutions, such as banks located within the United States. Such official checks are required by individual consumers if their payee needs a bank check or cashiers check that is actually drawn on the bank. Financial institutions also utilize them to pay their own bills.

In 1996, Integrated Payment Systems evolved into its own publically traded corporation. As such it was already the second biggest non banking consumer money transfer operation in the U.S. The company renamed itself MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc. as part of the spin off into independence. Rapid growth of the new corporation occurred under the leadership of James Calvano who came to the new company in 1997. He had formerly been the Western Union President before moving to the Chief Executive Officer role at MoneyGram Payment Systems.

It was in 1997 that MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc opted to change its name yet again to MoneyGram International Limited. When MoneyGram International arose, the company had two owners. MoneyGram Payment systems controlled the group with 51 percent stake in the renamed firm. Largest British travel agent firm in the world the Thomas Cook Group owned the remaining 49 percent.

In the year 2003, Travelers Express entered the picture by obtaining 100 percent ownership of the MoneyGram International and MoneyGram network. Travelers Express recognized the power of the MoneyGram brand name and changed its own name to MoneyGram International Inc in January of 2004. By the year 2006, this firm had grown overseas to comprise more than 96,000 individual agents. Their network now covered such high growth regions as Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Central America.

MoneyGram was nearly destroyed during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009. The company suffered losses of $1.6 billion in 2008 because of its various investments in mortgage backed securities which turned out to be highly risky instruments. The firm had to sell a controlling interest to Goldman Sachs and Thomas H. Lee Partners then in order to receive a desperately needed cash infusion to continue ongoing operations.

As the company was in limbo, U.S. Bancorp moved their money transfer business services over to rival largest money transfer company in the world (and financially far more stable) Western Union. By 2009, MoneyGram had stabilized and returned to profitability. The company agreed to be acquired by Ant Financial Services Group on January 26th of 2017, pending regulatory approval.

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The term 'MoneyGram' is included in the Economics edition of the Herold Financial Dictionary, which you can get from Amazon in Ebook or Paperback edition.