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Western Union (WU) Renews Money Transfers to Link Mali, ECOWAS

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The Western Union Company (WU - Free Report) recently recommenced money transfer services to enable Mali’s customers to send and receive money from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Including Mali, ECOWAS comprised 15 member countries situated in the Western African region. The other member countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The latest move seems to bring in a ray of hope for customers in Mali after a dismal period of growing tension between the transition authorities of Mali and ECOWAS authority. Mali’s transition authorities were unable to organize presidential elections before Feb 27, 2022, as was decided in a prior agreement reached with the ECOWAS authority. Acting on ECOWAS' pressure, the transition authorities submitted an election timeline at the end of December 2025. However, the new date set may have not gone down well with the ECOWAS top officials, who following this deferment, imposed a series of financial and economic sanctions on the transition authorities at a special summit held in January of 2022.

Among the list of sanctions imposed, one was called to halt all commercial and financial transactions between the Member States of ECOWAS and Mali. The only exception remained with food products, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment, petroleum products as well as electricity. Consequently, Western Union was compelled to put its money transfer services temporarily on hold only as a means to disconnect Mali from ECOWAS.

However, raising hopes, the military leaders of Mali promised to organize elections in February 2024, which prompted ECOWAS to withdraw the earlier-imposed sanctions on Mali in July 2022. Subsequently, Western Union was quick enough to connect Mali with ECOWAS by resuming its money transfer services in less than a month after the restrictions were relaxed.

Such prompt reactivation of services exhibits prudence on the part of Western Union, which aims to inflate money transfer revenues that constitute the bulk of its overall top line.

A solid cross-border money transfer platform of Western Union with an expansive reach to more than 200 countries and territories further aids it in bringing about a seamless money movement to and from any corner of the world. The platform has allowed WU to conduct cross-border money transfers in Mali for more than two decades.

It seems that Western Union has been on a spree this August to undertake initiatives that broaden its expansive network and boost the money transfer revenues. In mid-August, WU forged an alliance with Mexico-based supermarket chain operator Alsuper to extend its money transfer services at the latter’s supermarket hubs across Northern Mexico. During the same time period, Western Union strengthened its ties with Texas-based Woodforest National Bank by offering its digital prowess in addition to the earlier available retail capabilities to the latter’s customers.

Shares of Western Union have lost 25.5% in a year compared with the industry’s decline of 25.9%.

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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Western Union currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).  Some better-ranked stocks in the Business Services space are Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP - Free Report) , Clean Harbors, Inc. (CLH - Free Report) and Huron Consulting Group Inc. (HURN - Free Report) . While Clean Harbors and Huron Consulting sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Automatic Data Processing carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The bottom line of Automatic Data Processing outpaced estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average beat being 5.02%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ADP’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 14.8% from the year-ago reported figure. The same for revenues suggests growth of 8.4% from the year-ago reported number. The consensus mark for ADP’s 2022 earnings has moved 3.5% north in the past 30 days.

Clean Harbors’ earnings outpaced estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 37.51%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CLH’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 86.3% from the year-ago reported figure. The same for revenues also suggests growth of 33.4% from the prior-year reading. The consensus mark for CLH’s 2022 earnings has moved 52.7% north in the past 30 days.

The bottom line of Huron Consulting outpaced estimates in each of the last four quarters, the average surprise being 19.41%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HURN’s 2022 earnings suggests an improvement of 25.7% from the year-ago reported figure. The same for revenues suggests growth of 17.8% from the year-ago actuals. The consensus mark for HURN’s 2022 earnings has moved 2.5% north in the past 30 days.

Shares of Automatic Data Processing, Clean Harbors and Huron Consulting have gained 22.9%, 15.3%, and 39.5%, respectively, in a year.

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