By Riza Lozada
The initial operations of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB), a bank devoted to overseas Filipino workers (OFW), will proceed as scheduled in January 2018, following the assurance by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that the approvals from the necessary clearing institutions will be secured before the end of the year, the Department of Finance said in a statement.
“The launching of the Bank will not be delayed. BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. has confirmed that the requisite approvals from the Monetary Board and the BSP will be secured before yearend,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
Dominguez earlier welcomed Malacañang’s approval of the acquisition by the Land Bank of the Philippines of the Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB), which, he said, will pave the way for a financial institution that will cater not only to the country’s migrant workers, but to all other overseas-based Filipinos as well.
He said expanding the coverage of the new bank would make it “more inclusive” as it would also cover Filipinos based overseas, including immigrants to other countries.
“The Department of Finance moved quickly to help deliver on the President’s campaign promise to create a financial institution totally dedicated to catering to the needs of all overseas Filipinos—the Overseas Filipino Bank,” Dominguez said.
The OFB, Dominguez said, will become a subsidiary of LandBank, “the government-owned and -controlled bank with the most extensive branch network that will cater to the needs of the families of foreign-based Filipinos.”
The LandBank submitted to Malacañang the draft EO on its acquisition of the PPSB in the first week of September, way ahead of the original October deadline, Dominguez noted.
In Executive Order 44 issued last Sept. 28, President Duterte ordered the Philippine Postal Corp. and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to transfer their PPSB shares to the LandBank at zero value.
The EO further stated that the former PPSB will be converted into the “Overseas Filipino Bank” which is a “policy bank dedicated to provide financial products and services tailored to the requirement of overseas Filipinos” and will focus on delivering “quality and efficient foreign remittance services.”
Dominguez said at a recent press briefing that one of the key features of the OFB will be a remittance service for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as a loan program for Filipinos planning to return here to start businesses or build their homes.
According to the finance chief, the LandBank and the BTr are also exploring ways of mobilizing the savings of overseas-based Filipinos so they could invest in the country’s capital markets.