Sept. 9, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has identified two possible solutions for local residents hoping to support friends or family in Greece during its financial crisis.
Last month, the Congresswoman called on the U.S. Treasury to help bypass a significant obstacle between Greek citizens and access to remittances, or money sent from abroad.
This obstacle was created through the repercussions of Greece’s financial crisis. As the country grapples with its severe debt, Greece’s Financial Stability Council has imposed a 60 Euro-per-day limitation, about $67, on bank withdrawals.
Therefore, in Maloney’s words, money sent from the U.S. to friends and family in Greece “is just sitting on the sidelines.”
Last week, Maloney joined Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Councilman Costa Constantinides and members of the local Greek community to announce recommendations for bypassing the withdrawal cap.
First, she suggested sending remittances through foreign-owned banks, which are not subject to capital controls.
“[For] remittances that are sent to foreign owned banks, such as a Citi Bank or an HSBC, there will be no currency limitations. You can get all of your money out,” she explained.
Second, she suggested sending money transfers through foreign-owned companies, as long as the money goes to a non-bank retail location. According to Maloney, Western Union and MoneyGram have the most retail locations in Greece.
Both Western Union and MoneyGram require fees for money transfers.
These recommendations are based on a discussion with the U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for International Finance, Ramin Toloui.
“It’s not a solution to the whole problem, but any currency that gets back into the [Greek] economy is helpful,” Maloney said.