By Yas Ocampo
DAVAO CITY – On January 18, President Rodrigo Duterte will launch the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB), a promise he made during his trips to areas with a high concentration of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the first two years of his administration.
The bank, acquired by the Land Bank of the Philippines from the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, will have overseas workers eventually holding controlling interests in the future, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
“The OFWs have P20 billion held in trust for them by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration,” Bello said. They could have purchased the bank themselves without the help of LandBank, “but we decided to have this eventually instead.”
The bank was initially named after overseas Filipino workers (OFW), but the board of directors decided to use the general term “overseas Filipinos” so that every Filipino living abroad can avail of the services of the institution.
The bank is envisioned to provide services such as reduced costs of dollar remittances. “That service will become free eventually,” Bello said. Other services include personal loans ranging from P50,000 to P350,000, with no collateral.
The launch will be held in Metro Manila, with representatives of other agencies such as the Philippine Postal Corporation and LandBank, aside from other agencies in attendance.
Bello said the bank plans to open branches in Bahrain, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi soon.
Overseas Filipinos remitted around P1.7 trillion last year and made a huge contribution to the Philippine economy, Bello said.