Western Union Co. was already focused on expanding its digital business when the pandemic shut down some of its physical locations and forced many of its employees to work remotely.
The shutdown led to a surge of new clients to the money-transfer giant’s digital platforms as people avoided going to retail locations and countries around the world issued stay-at-home orders, says Tyler Hand, who became Western Union’s chief compliance officer in August 2019.
The pandemic also meant the Denver-based company—which had to retain an independent compliance auditor for three years as part of a consent order with the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly failing to implement an effective antifraud program and supervise third-party agents—had to quickly shift its compliance controls to monitor for Covid-related frauds, Mr. Hand says. Those frauds included internet-purchase scams involving face masks, purported Covid-testing kits and ventilators, he says.
The Wall Street Journal spoke with the 47-year-old Mr. Hand about how the company has handled the pandemic, what it has learned from the settlement agreement (the independent auditor’s term ended earlier this year) and how it is navigating the current geopolitics. Edited excerpts follow.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:How has the company been operating during the pandemic? What has changed?