The Overseas Filipino Bank, which will open next year, will ease the financial burden of millions of Filipinos working abroad with low remittance service rates and profitable investment offers, according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
Bello said Filipinos in other countries would be able to transact with the new OFB in January next year, with the intention to cover not just overseas Filipino workers but all Filipinos elsewhere.
“Our OFWs and overseas Filipinos contributed a lot to Philippine economy, with cash remittances of around US$16.1 billion from January to July this year,” he said.
“The bank will provide our overseas Filipinos the most effective and cheapest or free transfer of their remittances. We are also able to get the consent of Land Bank president Alex Buenaventura that the interest rate in the loan packages will only be at 2.5 percent per annum. This is beneficial compared to other banks. This will give our OFWs the venue for their investment,” Bello added.
The bank, which is not limited to OFWs, is dedicated to providing financial products and services tailored to the requirements of all overseas Filipinos, and focused on delivering quality and efficient foreign remittances services pursuant to Executive Order 44 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the justice secretary said.
Through EO 44, the Philippine Postal Savings Bank will be acquired by the Land Bank of the Philippines and converted into the OFB. The bank will provide priority support to the growing financial needs of overseas-based Filipinos, “who contribute to the country’s foreign exchange income, currency stability, employment, and overall economic growth through their remittances,” Bello said.
The bank will be managed by a board of directors headed by the current LBP president as chairman, LBP-designated president as vice chairperson, four LBP-designated directors or officers as members, and members representing the Department of Labor and Employment, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and a private sector member representing overseas Filipinos.
Bello encouraged OFWs to invest in the bank and take advantage of its services and offers, as it is partly owned by them.
“It will be wise for them to invest in the bank because they actually own the bank. As the secretary of labor and under the executive order, I can nominate one to represent DoLE, another one to OWWA, and the other one is for the overseas-based Filipinos. We will increase the representation of the OFWs by buying more shares that will entitle them to two or three board seats,” he added.
The labor secretary also said OFB branches will be put up in all Philippine Overseas Labor Offices to reach more Filipinos abroad and provide them with quality and efficient foreign remittance services.
Source: Manila Standard