By James Tall
We spoke with Larry Angelilli, MoneyGram Chief Financial Officer, to find out more about the company’s massive digital growth and how they are moving forward amidst the disruption caused by COVID-19.
MoneyGram is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic very well, a fact that’s illustrated by a continuous triple-digit percentage increase in digital transactions. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Larry Angelilli oversees all of the company’s finance, accounting, and treasury-related functions and has been a driving force for recent growth.
Angelilli joined MoneyGram in August of 2011 as Senior Vice President, Treasurer, bringing with him more than 30 years of financial services experience, including senior roles at Hudson Advisors/Lone Star Funds, Centex Corporation, NationsBank Corporation, and The National Bank of Detroit. “MoneyGram had been hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis,” says Angelilli. “They invited me in to help them to turn things around.”
In this first role with MoneyGram, Angelilli was responsible for global banking and treasury operations and leading the company’s corporate finance functions. He was attracted by the challenge. “MoneyGram is an amazingly complex company,” explains Angelilli. “It’s everywhere in the world and moves between $750 million and $1.3 billion every single day. There’s nothing quite like it – the global aspect, the sheer number of currencies, and so on. We’re embedded in many different countries and, for each one, we need to understand the local culture, geopolitical situation, and capital markets. It’s a tremendous challenge but very satisfying.”
Continuing to drive the digital transformation
Angelilli was named CFO in January of 2016 and has since been helping lead MoneyGram through its digital transformation.
“Over the past few years, we’ve focused on our digital transformation and set out to disrupt ourselves as a company,” he says. “Digital remittances was a case of when, not if, and so we knew that we needed a robust long-term strategy for digital.”
“We wanted to prioritize a best-in-class user experience. It was a challenging environment to do this in, with start-ups and new entrants offering low-price options for consumers. But we’ve worked hard to develop our app, change our IT infrastructure and reduce our expense base as we take a more sophisticated view of pricing in the digital environment. It’s all come to fruition just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has of course accelerated the transition to digital for many consumers. We’ve given them the right product, at the right time – and at the right price.”
It has indeed come to fruition. In the company’s 2020 second quarter results, MoneyGram reported 106% year-over-year digital transaction growth – a significant acceleration from the first quarter of 2020 when the company reported 57% growth. This growth was driven by MoneyGram Online (the company’s direct-to-consumer channel), digital partnerships, account deposit and mobile wallets.
Then, in July of 2020, MoneyGram reported a record 207% year-over-year cross-border digital transaction growth for MoneyGram Online. This channel was the key driver of overall digital transaction growth of 124% that enabled 17% total money transfer transaction growth in July, an acceleration from 10% year-over-year money transfer transaction growth in June.
New partnerships around the globe have helped to boost MoneyGram’s digital growth. These include the recently-announced strategic partnerships with Airtel Africa, Thunes, InTouch and MFS Africa, which give MoneyGram access to mobile wallets in 28 markets in Africa. These enable the company to further accelerate digital growth and lead the industry as mobile money adoption grows rapidly across the continent.
Such partnerships will help people to get around the unprecedented disruption that we’re all living through. Angelilli believes that COVID-19 hasn’t fully played itself out yet. Different organizations have been affected differently, and he sees widespread deviation across the payments industry.
“There are three levels: (1) the massive disruption associated with shielding employees and protecting consumers, (2) the relaxing of these measures that could release pent-up demand, and (3) the macro-economic impact on each jurisdiction in the future. Some countries have done a better job of controlling the pandemic than others. Some have restarted their economy successfully whilst others are being hit by second waves. There’s real deviation along this line. But, in balance, remittances are so essential that activity is resilient – people are finding a way.”
“There are not many public companies in our space, so there’s no real indication of how many are faring,” he continues. “Though it’s certain that there’s stress, especially for companies without a digital platform, consumers will simply change brand. Around 80% of our new digital customers are new to the brand, coming from other non-digital players.”
MoneyGram is an established member of IAMTN, and Angelilli thinks that it provides an essential platform for industry engagement.
“We’re a competitive industry, but there are some issues that transcend competition. Remittances are vital, so IAMTN has an important role to bridge to governments, regulators, and other associated institutions. It gives private companies a voice to bring attention to actions, such as de-risking, that hurt remittances at such an important time. IAMTN is the perfect organization to help government bodies and central banks to understand the impact of their policies.”
To read IAMTN’s report on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.iamtn.org/impact-of-covid19. We will be running more webinars throughout the year, so stay tuned to our website.