As part of its strategy to grow its payment network in regions with strong remittance potential, MoneyGram International has acquired Blue Dolphin Financial Services.

There are 18 Blue Dolphin locations in Belgium and the Netherlands, and the acquisition, along with the expanded opportunities for payment institutions introduced by the European Union in November, will act like a foundation for MoneyGram’s growth across Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

John Hempsey, executive vice president of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific at MoneyGram, said: “Blue Dolphin has exceeded our expectations as an agent and we’re eager to grow both locations and transactions across this important remittance region. This region is a key source of remittances for Turkey and many countries in Europe and Africa, including Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco.

“Owning our own network in key European markets has been essential to our growth. Our retail expansion in France was a catalyst for adding eight French-speaking countries across Africa and Oceania since 2008. The recent directive from the EU encourages trade within payments businesses and owning our own network supports our growth in highly regulated countries.

“Blue Dolphin has served our customers for several years and we’ll now begin to manage these locations directly to grow our Benelux business and our opportunities in receive countries as well.”

In addition to its recent acquisition, MoneyGram operates retail branches in France and Germany.