Since the financial crisis escalated in Greece this past summer, many Greek-American families in Queens and across the U.S. have been unable to send large amounts of money to relatives in need due to imposed banking restrictions.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney announced on Wednesday two suggestions from the U.S. Treasury Department designed to clear the way for Greek-Americans to help their families in their ancestral home.
One method involves wiring funds to family members in Greece who have accounts with foreign-owned banks in that nation, while the other plan involves remitting money through the retail offices of foreign-owned money transfer companies. These foreign-owned entities were exempted from various withdrawal limits that the Greek government imposed as a result of their economic calamity.
“Greece is suffering through a terrible economic and financial crisis and international remittances are one of the most important sources of capital to the Greek people,” Maloney said. “With these two new avenues for sending remittances to friends and family in Greece, I’m hopeful that this essential assistance will flow more freely.”
Several Queens lawmakers, including Councilman Costa Constantinides and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, joined local business leaders and Greek-American advocates at Wednesday’s press conference in applauding the measures.
“The U.S. must do our part to support the people of Greece, especially during this time of need,” Constantinides said. “Our Greek-American community has provided economic support to friends and family in Greece, who rely on $800 million in remittances per year.”
“Hardworking Greek-Americans who have achieved the American dream want nothing more than to help out their families who are struggling during this hard time,” Simotas added. “I am grateful to Congresswoman Maloney for taking the lead on this issue and for providing relief to those struggling to get much needed funds into the right hands.”