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U.S. Bank and Mexican Savings Bank Partner to Provide Money Transfers

SAN FRANCISCO, Jun 10, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- U.S. Bank and L@Red de la Gente (The People's Network) have partnered to encourage more Mexicans in Mexico and America to become bank account holders and savers through a new money transfer service. L@Red de la Gente is a commercial banking alliance developed by the Mexican savings bank BANSEFI and 17 other entities of the Mexican Popular Banking Sector. The new money transfer service is priced as low as $6 when made from one account to another.

The service, which will be available later this year, will enable individuals in the United States to transfer money to friends or relatives in Mexico and have the funds directed to savings accounts or picked up in currency at any branch of L@Red de la Gente. While sending or receiving the transfer, customers will have the opportunity to learn more about the financial and safety benefits of using the banking system.

The partnership was announced Monday, June 9 at the Partnership for Prosperity Conference in San Francisco, and was discussed during a session on remittances hosted by United States Treasurer Rosario Marin and the BANSEFI Director Javier Gavito. The partnership expands the low cost money transfer options available through U.S. Bank, which last month announced that it was piloting U.S. Bank Secure Money Transfer in Sacramento and Denver.

L@Red de la Gente serves Mexico's lowest income savers by providing savings accounts and other financial services, including remittances, for millions of individuals who are not served by the large financial institutions in the country. There are currently 750 L@Red de la Gente locations. It is expected that there will be around 3,000 locations at the end of the present administration (term ending in 2006).

The partnership bolsters the mission of the Mexican government to encourage more citizens to become bank account holders and savers, one of the primary reasons for BANSEFI's development under the direction of Mexican President Vicente Fox. BANSEFI is the National Savings and Financial Services Bank, the Spanish translation of which is abbreviated as BANSEFI. It is the only savings bank that charges no commissions and offers the most competitive interest rates.

While the U.S. Bank Secure Money Transfer product allows individuals to safely and quickly transfer money to Mexico through ATMs, many of the 20,000 PLUS Network ATMs in Mexico are located in metropolitan areas. This new partnership will make it easier for money to be received in Mexico's rural areas where many of the L@Red de la Gente branches are located.

"Our goal at U.S. Bank is to help reduce the number of unbanked individuals in the United States. Serving our money transfer customers also allows us to talk with them about the benefits of keeping their money safe in a bank and managing their finances with the help of a financial services professional," said Richard Davis, U.S. Bancorp vice chairman.

U.S. Bank Secure Money Transfer, which will be available at 2,220 U.S. Bank branches in 24 states in August, allows individuals to send money to Mexico quickly, safely and affordably. The recipient may immediately withdraw funds from any of the PLUS ATMs in Mexico as soon as the money is added to Secure Money Transfer card. Money can be sent and received 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. Senders need not be U.S. Bank checking or savings account holders, although there are added benefits for those who have a U.S. Bank account.

Remittances to Mexico totaled $10.5 billion accounting for almost one-third of all remittances to Latin America in 2002 according to a February 2003 report by the Inter-American Development Bank. The overall remittances to Latin America grew 17.6 percent from 2001 to 2002, reaching more than $32 billion. If current growth rates are maintained, cumulative remittances to Latin America could reach $300 billion for the ten-year period ending in 2010.

U.S. Bank was among the first in the nation to make advances that directly benefit the Hispanic consumer. In November 2001, U.S. Bank was one of the first financial institutions in America to accept the Matricula Consular as a form of identification when opening an account. Many U.S. Bank locations have bilingual signage, brochures and other material to make the banking experience more inviting to customers who prefer to do business in Spanish. In October 2002, U.S. Bank launched a Spanish-language version of usbank.com with information on banking products and services for Hispanic customers, complete with a branch locator that identifies where customers can find Spanish-speaking tellers and bankers.

U.S. Bancorp, with assets in excess of $182 billion, is the 8th largest financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates 2,200 banking offices and 4,582 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the Five Star Service Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at usbank.com.

SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp

CONTACT:          U.S. Bancorp
                  Teri Charest, 612/303-0732

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SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp

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