PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, January 17, led the ceremonial opening of the Overseas Filipino Bank in an effort to respond to the financial needs of Filipino migrant workers and their families.
The Overseas Filipino Bank, a savings bank of state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines, was launched at the Postbank Center in Manila.
Duterte, in his keynote speech, expressed satisfaction that he was able to live up to his campaign promises.
Among his vows was to create the overseas Filipino workers' (OFWs) bank to provide improved and efficient services for Filipinos overseas, as well as for their families.
"I am verry happy that I fulfilled my campaign promises," the President said during the launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank.
According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, OFW remittances rose by 4.2 percent to $23.06 billion from January to October 2017 compared to $22.12 billion in the same period in 2016.
On September 26, 2017, Duterte signed Executive Order 44, which approved the acquisition by Landbank of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB), which was to be converted into the Overseas Filipino Bank.
PPSB's mother company, Philippine Postal Corporation, and the Bureau of the Treasury were instructed to transfer all their respective shares in PPSB to Landbank at zero value.
Duterte also ordered the PPSB to expedite the transfer of all assets, liabilities, records, systems and other related items to Landbank.
To strengthen the capital base of Overseas FIlipino Bank, Landbank was delegated to infuse the necessary capital in Overseas Filipino Bank.
The Overseas Filipino Bank is expected to offer deposits, loans, investments, remittance, and payment services to address the needs of OFWs.
To date, other banks offer only remittance services to Filipinos residing and working abroad.
The OFW bank will offer deposit products such as Peso ATM Savings, Time Deposit, and Checking Accounts.
It will also open a credit facility for migrant Filipino workers and their beneficiaries for the construction of their homes and establishment of their own businesses.
OFWs may also invest in Unit Investment Trust Funds and in the preferred shares of Overseas Filipino Bank.
The newly-opened bank also features payment services that will allow OFWs to pay from abroad their Social Security System contributions, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration membership, PhilHealth dues, insurance premium contributions, credit card payments, telephone and water bills, housing and business loans, and tuition of their beneficiaries.
A remittance service will also be available to allow Filipino workers abroad to remit money to their beneficiaries in the country through a mobile credit-to-account system. (SunStar Philippines)