MSB bank accounts play an important role in global financial inclusion. A reliable bank account enables an MSB to serve their community with alternative financial services. Without an MSB bank account, check cashers and money transmitters are left without a way to serve their customers.
Without alternative financial services, MSB customers are unable to perform routine household activities like paying bills, cashing paychecks, or loading prepaid debit cards for daily use. This is because many MSB customers are underbanked, unbanked, or in need of immediate cash. MSB services are their only option for the financial tasks at hand.
The Role of MSB Bank Accounts
Every MSB is powered by its MSB bank account. In short, MSB bank accounts keep money service businesses in operation and enable them to serve their customers. In addition to registration and compliance, the bank account is an essential component of any check cashing business.
The MSB bank account makes all other banking services possible. The collection of services that keep an MSB running efficiently include remote deposit capture, bank deposits, check clearing, money transfer, and armored cash delivery.
This collection works together to allow an MSB to offer a diverse range of financial products and services, including:
- Payroll check cashing
- Money transfer
- Bill pay
- Prepaid cards
- Traveler’s checks
- Currency exchange
- Money wire
Each of these financial offerings provides financial inclusion to those who do not have access to traditional banking. Even the fully banked need alternative financial services from time to time, when bank overdraft fees or extended wait times to access deposited funds are not an option. And all of these services depend on the MSB holding down a real MSB bank account.
MSB Banking Crisis
Unfortunately, securing and maintaining a strong banking relationship is harder than ever before. Several factors contribute to derisking, the trend of banks cutting ties with their MSB clients. Financial regulations are ever changing and there is mounting pressure to stay compliant or face fines. With this looming overhead, many banks are opting to shed their risk rather than manage it. As a result, they are closing MSB bank accounts and even shutting down their entire MSB banking department in some cases.
So why are MSBs considered risky? While money service business do face financial risk, their reputation is as a wholly risky industry is undeserved. The risk for financial crime like money laundering, check fraud, and terrorist financing can be managed with robust compliance. MSBs were labeled a threat by FinCEN’s list of “risky businesses” published in 2013. Even though this list has since been retracted, the damage persists to this day.
When banks look to shore up their compliance and reduce risk, MSB clients are an easy target. MSBs are dealing with a difficult banking landscape. And low income neighborhoods are left with even fewer financial options. The MSB banking crisis has a real implication for the underbanked and the unbanked: increased financial exclusion
Real MSB Owners Discuss MSB Banking
MSB owner and NCC client, Mo Motameti recalls his own MSB banking crisis. Mo operates TTS Financial in Miami, FL and is celebrating over 10 years in business. After 9 years of banking with a big national bank, Mo found his account terminated with little warning or explanation.
Mo remembers that he was on vacation when he found out that his bank account was being terminated. His banking partner was shutting down their MSB banking division – and it didn’t matter that Mo was a client in good standing with a pristine compliance record.
Mo immediately started to scramble to find a new bank so that he could avoid shutting down his business. During his search, he discovered NCC. Mo credits his ability to stay in business to the hard work on NCC’s part to get him banked. While Mo enjoyed his vacation, NCC’s Director of Banking stayed in touch to get questions answered and relay information as needed.
Mo notes that “it was very clear from the get go that [NCC] would work as hard as it took to get the job done.” Now that Mo is on the other side of his MSB banking crisis, he enjoys NCC’s advanced POS technology that allows him to instantly check on any of his check cashing business locations.
There are many other stories like Mo’s. In some cases, MSBs with 20 plus year banking relationships are left without a bank account. In every instance, no explanation is given and the MSB owners are left in full crisis mode as they work to secure MSB bank accounts for their businesses. In addition to their own profit loss, business closure cuts off access to alternative financial services for those who need them most.
Securing an MSB Bank Account
MSB bank accounts are vital for money service business operations, but they are increasingly hard to find. How can an MSB secure an MSB bank account? In this uncertain banking environment, NCC serves the MSB industry with real banking solutions, comprehensive compliance services, and robust technology.
NCC partners with a network of MSB friendly banks to provide reliable bank accounts and banking service. MSB owners do not have to worry about becoming a victim of derisking – they enjoy a secure banking relationship that is backed by a network of banking partners who can step in if their account is terminated.
When you have an MSB bank account, you can focus on growing your business, diversifying your services, and serving your customer. As competition increases in the form of big banks offering check cashing and mobile money platforms offering P2P payment, MSBs need to focus on what sets them apart.
Personalized service is the hallmark of a friendly MSB. Check cashing customers enjoy a teller relationship and the one on one service this provides. The MSB customer service experience is in stark contrast to the anonymity many low income customers experience at big banks.
MSBs often bundle their financial services with other business services. Customers enjoy the convenience of cashing their paycheck right where they shop for small household items, buy food, fill up their car with gas, or buy liquor. This bundling of errands sets MSBs apart from their competitors.
Securing an MSB bank account is vital for a check cashing business, but it is just one part of building a money service business.