There's little argument that banks are failing miserably at making customers of the more than 28 million Americans classified as unbanked. This failure means banks lose not only potential deposits, they also lose the transaction revenue these customers routinely hand over to money service businesses when they send cash home.
And it's a lot of cash. Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria (a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide) have racked up revenue of more than $7 billion in 2008, according to Aite Group. Officially recorded remittance dollars topped $280 billion in 2006, according to World Bank statistics, not including the vast sums moved through informal networks globally.