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Business

Gov’t wants to set up branches of Overseas Filipino Bank abroad

Mary Grace Padin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The government is planning to secure approvals to operate the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) in foreign countries where there are many Filipinos, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the DOF and the Land Bank of the Philippines would apply for necessary licenses in other countries to make the OFB more accessible to Filipinos based abroad.

Dominguez said the upcoming launch of the bank, scheduled today at the Postal Savings Bank Center in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, fulfills another campaign promise of President Duterte.

“You know, we are just fulfilling the President’s campaign promise one by one. First, tax reform, then this new bank,” he said.

The establishment of the bank came a week after the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) gave LandBank the go-signal to acquire PostalBank, which was converted into the OFB.

“It’s just a matter of the administrative integration of the bank. It’s an administrative thing and all the approvals have been cleared away for the acquisition,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the conversion of PostalBank into the OFB saved it from bankruptcy.

In September last year, the President issued Executive Order 44 ordering the Philippine Postal Corp. and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) to transfer their PostalBank shares to LandBank at zero value.

The bank will also focus on delivering quality and efficient foreign remittance services to overseas Filipinos.

According to the DOF, the OFB was previously conceptualized as a bank catering to the needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) but its coverage was later expanded by Dominguez to include all foreign-based Filipinos to make it more inclusive.

Dominguez said the OFB would become a subsidiary of LandBank, which he described as the government-owned and -controlled bank with the most extensive branch network.

He said a key feature of the OFB would be the provision of remittance services to OFWs and a loan program for Filipinos planning to return to the Philippines to help them start businesses or build their homes.    

CARLOS DOMINGUEZ III DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE OVERSEAS FILIPINO BANK PHILIPPINE COMPETITION COMMISSION
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