The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has given its go-ahead for Land Bank of the Philippines’ acquisition of Philippine Postal Bank to form the Overseas Filipino Bank.
Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier told reporters Friday that the Monetary Board, the BSP’s highest policymaking body, last Dec. 7 approved the state-run lender’s application to acquire Postbank.
Fonacier said additional documents were waiting for BSP approval to formally establish the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB).
BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla said the target opening of OFB is in February next year instead of January as previously announced.
Philippine Competition Commission Chair Arsenio M. Balisacan said they recently received Landbank’s notification documents for the acquisition of Postbank, and would review them within 30 days.
Balisacan said PCC’s approval could be granted early next year. Under the country’s anti-trust law (Republic Act No. 10667), all merger and acquisition transactions worth P1 billion and above must first be approved by the PCC. Landbank president Alex V. Buenaventura earlier told the Inquirer that the BSP had committed to fast-track the approval of Postbank’s sale.
Buenaventura had said the launch of OFB, specifically its head office in Liwasang Bonifacio, would push through early next year.
By April, the bank would open its first representative office in Dubai, according to Buenaventura.
In October, President Duterte signed Executive Order No. 44, creating the OFB. Under EO 44, the Philippine Postal Corp., which owns Postbank, and the Bureau of Treasury, were ordered to transfer their shares of the thrift bank to Landbank at zero value.
Landbank was also ordered to infuse capital to OFB.
Duterte earlier promised to create a bank dedicated to the needs of overseas Filipino workers.
Last month, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the soon-to-be opened OFB would be open to all Filipinos abroad, whether they are immigrants or contract workers. Such expansion of the bank’s coverage would make it “more inclusive,” Dominguez had said.
According to Dominguez, “one of the key features of the Overseas Filipino Bank will be a remittance service for OFWs as well as a loan program for Filipinos planning to return here to start businesses or build their homes.”
Also, Landbank and the Bureau of Treasury were “exploring ways of mobilizing the savings of overseas-based Filipinos for them to invest in the country’s capital markets,” according to Dominguez.
“Loans for house repair, for educating the beneficiaries here, and direct remittances to schools, so those are the programs we have discussed with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and he seems to be very happy about the service we would be providing,” the Finance chief had said.