Several weeks have already passed, yet it is still impossible to imagine that we lost our dearest colleague and friend, Raul Hernandez-Coss. Raul’s death was too sudden. He was too young, too energetic to leave so early. He was too passionate to rest the work on financial inclusion and remittances behind him.
He was on official travel (on behalf of the government of Mexico) in Bogota, staying at the Hilton, when he developed a headache; he asked the hotel for a doctor, but none was around; he called for emergency help, but the ambulance took two hours to arrive; too late.
Raul was the pioneer on bilateral remittance corridor analysis (BRCA). His work on US-Mexico remittance corridor still serves as a major reference for policy makers in the area of remittances and payment solutions; this was among the first studies to document the nearly 60% fall in average remittance fees from US to Mexico (see chart), which gave hope to the call for reducing remittance fees worldwide, which was first a G8 agenda and now become a G20 agenda. Raul played a leading role organizing the second international conference on remittances and access to finance that the Bank and DFID organized in 2006, one of the two landmark events that shaped the current, expansive global remittances agenda.
Source: Raul Hernandez-Coss, US-Mexico Remittance Corridor.
Raul has done so much to advance financial inclusion not only in his home country, Mexico, but also globally. He had a vision, and the passion and dedication to improve the life of the poor and the vulnerable. His dedication to make remittances safe and secure was commendable. He was among the people who told the human story behind remittance transactions and urged the development community to count the cost of long travels that migrants and their relatives often must undertake to send or collect remittances. When he took an external assignment at the CNBV of Mexico as Director General for Access to Finance, he made Mexico a leader and champion in financial inclusion. Raul was a major contributor to the the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, in particular as a Data and Measurement Sub-Group Co-Chair.