REMITTANCES by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) reached $32.21 billion in 2018, an all-time high record, according to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Remittances consistently account for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, but information solutions provider TransUnion said OFWs can participate in the local economy more when cross-border data sharing, or the exchange of credit information between states, becomes institutionalized.
“Cross-border data sharing will assist OFWs in participating in the credit economy of their resident country and even after they decide to come home for good. It will help open up more opportunities to access credit for purposes like entrepreneurship, obtaining mortgages and personal loans, or accessing the rental housing market, which can translate into more income for remittance, expenditure, or investment,” said TransUnion Philippines president and CEO Pia Arellano.
At present, however, it is only done in the European Union via limited inter-country reporting between credit bureaus and registries due to regulatory uncertainty, legislation changes, and non-agreement on risk assessment guidelines that are hampering credit reporting data harmonization between countries.
The infrastructure to allow a credit bureau in one country to send a consumer report -- at the consumer’s request -- to a lender in another country is still in a nascent stage and potentially faces some of the same regulatory uncertainty as bureau-to-bureau sharing.
“It’s a long way to go before we can fully benefit from cross-border credit data sharing. For one, we have yet to establish wider access to credit information among Filipino consumers right here in the Philippines. However, helping OFWs, which in turn translates into tangible economic benefits for the Philippines, is also a priority for us because it’s part of what we view as Information for Good,” Arellano said.
TransUnion is also currently exploring opportunities to permit consumers to request online that their report be provided directly to a lender in another country.
TransUnion has also participated in government-industry forums to promote discussions on how best regulators and the industry can work together to provide Filipinos access to their credit information no matter where they are in the world.
“Eventually, it will all spur further growth in our economy. When the OFWs raise their standard of living through credit, the Philippine economy benefits through remittances, local expenditures, and further investments,” Arellano said. “We at TransUnion welcome the opportunity to continue those discussions and we call for additional government and industry dialogs to be sure all Filipinos have access to their credit information and benefit fully from that access.”
The more people are participating in the local economy, the livelier it gets and the more opportunities for nation-building and elevating the quality of life become available.
As the country’s only private comprehensive credit bureau, TransUnion utilizes the wealth of information at its disposal to help businesses and consumers make informed decisions that minimize risk, create opportunities, and maximize profits.
For more information about TransUnion Philippines, visit the website https://www.transunion.ph. (PR)