New fintech bullish on OFW remittances

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Los Angeles-based BayaniPay has put up the first ever-ever Filipino American neobank, reflecting its bullish view on rising remittances from overseas Filipinos.

The Filipino-owned fintech has partnered with East West Bank, the largest independent bank headquartered in Southern California.

BayaniPay CEO Winston Damarillo said remittances continued to grow as Filipinos abroad sent more money to help back home amid the pandemic.

After growing by more than five percent to hit record levels last year, personal remittances went up by 2.5 percent to $2.97 billion in January from $2.89 billion in the same month last year.

Cash remittances coursed through banks also rose by 2.5 percent $2.67 billion from $2.6 billion. The US registered the highest share of overall remittances at 41.2 percent.

As underserved markets such as new immigrants in the US are unable to secure financial services, BayaniPay was launched in November last year to address this by reducing the barriers to opening a bank account and making seamless cross-border payments.

BayaniPay provides zero-fee remittances from California to the Philippines and market-leading foreign exchange rates in partnership with Sy-led BDO Unibank Inc.

By integrating bank products into its platform, BayaniPay aims to address another pressing need of the estimated 4.2 million US-based Filipinos.

As a premier financial bridge between the US and Asia, East West Bank executive vice president and COO Parker Shi said it has developed robust digital banking capabilities to meet customers’ cross-border needs.

“We introduced direct-to-consumer digital banking services to provide customers around the world with comprehensive solutions that fit their lifestyle. This partnership enables fintech providers like BayaniPay to embed our products and services to serve a whole new group of customers,” he said.

BayaniPay’s pioneering neobank lets users open an East West Bank-powered Easy Digital checking account, order a co-branded Visa debit card, and send zero-fee, faster remittances to the Philippines.

With the launch of the neobank, recipients in the Philippines can now receive their BayaniPay remittances in 12 hours or less through most national banks, as well as many rural banks, pawnshops, or cash pick-up outlets.

For this year, the BSP sees OFW remittances climbing by four percent from record levels last year as more host countries reopen their borders from strict COVID-19 lockdowns.

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