Impacting those who need it the most

photo credit: Lisa Weatherbee

Challenge

For 8 years, Uzma struggled to reduce costs associated with sending funds to Thaakat’s projects in Sierra Leone, Pakistan and Ghana. With a commitment of 100% of public dollars pledged going directly to their projects, administration costs such as banking fees were often covered personally by Thaakat’s staff.

The banking world was not kind to Thaakat’s finances and to Uzma’s personal time. She found herself waiting in line at her bank three times a month, often over her lunch break or with a small child in tow on weekends. She implored her bank to waive fees given her organization was a small non-profit and was met with her bank telling her that “they were not in the service of helping non-profits.” Wire fees ranged from $45-55 per transfer based on the volume of funds and country she was sending them to. Plus, the bank added an additional $20-30 in monthly account fees just to allow her to send foreign transfers.

Often, Uzma would only be alerted to potential payment errors when her beneficiaries notified her that the funds had not arrived weeks after she made the initial transfer. Hiccups often occurred when payment information was not transcribed accurately and she had no confidence or level of transparency into the resolution process.

Solution

After searching for a different solution for years, Uzma had given up hope that there was a safe and secure alternative to her bank. When Commonwealth FX contacted her, she was convinced that it was “way too good to be true.” Her account executive took the time to understand Thaakat’s mission and the challenges that Uzma had been facing both financially and logistically when sending funds every month.

Thaakat was provided with a cost-effective and comprehensive fee structure that recognized the importance of their mission and maximized funding to their projects. Commonwealth FX worked with Uzma to ensure that beneficiary information was set-up accurately and verified to avoid potential delivery delays. Given volatility of the currencies Thaakat sends, Uzma and her account executive continue to connect monthly to understand market changes that could impact her organization and develop strategies to help reduce currency risk.

Result

In just one year, Uzma estimates that working with Commonwealth FX has saved her 30 visits to the bank, over $1600 in fees and at least 50 hours of working time. Additionally, she now has the comfort and security to “operate in peace” knowing that her dedicated account manager is committed to ensuring the best solution for her organization and is only a phone call away to help her ensure funds are received accurately and efficiently where they are needed most.

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