CFO Press Release
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas lauds the launching of an all new and fully digital system of the Overseas Filipino Bank(OF Bank) which aims to expand its reach to Filipinos around the world through online banking on June 29, 2020.
CFO Chairperson and Secretary, Justice Francisco P. Acosta (Ret.) and CFO Executive Director, Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel-Naik, praised LandBank and the OF Bank for innovating its banking services, and adopting fully digital processes to better its services for OFs and their families, especially now that the world is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. It is much safer to utilize electronic and digital platforms to access banking needs during this public health crisis. The LandBank is among the partner institutions of the CFO, particularly in its Ugnayan Series with Filipino Communities Abroad.
The event, live streamed via the official Facebook page of OF Bank and its parent bank, LandBank of the Philippines and the LandBank YouTube Channel, was hosted by TV personality Gretchen Ho. The launch was spearheaded by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, OF Bank Chair and LandBank President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo, OF Bank President and CEO Leila C. Martin, and Visa Country Manager for the Philippines and Guam Dan Wolbert.
OF Bank, the state-owned bank and a subsidiary of LandBank, made a historic mark for becoming the Philippines’ first-ever digital-only, branchless government bank catering to overseas Filipinos and their beneficiaries. This is great news for OFWs and other OFs who want to increase their savings while working abroad and experience more convenience in sending remittances to their families back home, as it allows clients to complete banking transactions anytime and anywhere across the globe. In 2019, the Philippines received US$ 30.1 billion worth of remittances from overseas Filipinos, constituting 9.3% of the country’s gross domestic product.
During the launch, OFWs from different parts of the globe gave positive testimonies on the convenience of having an OF Bank account. They have initially opened OF Bank accounts, and laud this newest financial service as this would save them time from queuing in remittance centers just to send money to their families and loved ones in the Philippines. They would likewise make some savings from the remittance fees as sending and receiving remittance between OF Bank accounts are free of charge. It would also encourage them to save money, which they could use for investment and for their reintegration back to the Philippines.
The OF Bank would also offer loan programs to OFWs who are planning to return to the Philippines by helping them finance their business or build their homes.
It may be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte said, in one of his campaign promises in 2016, that he is eyeing setting up a bank where OFWs can send and receive their remittances thru facilities that are already existing. This is in recognition of the significant contributions of these modern-day heroes in sustaining the Philippine economy and in national development.
In 2017, the President signed Executive Order 44 ordering the transfer of Philippine Postal Bank (PostBank) from the Philippine Postal Corporation and the Bureau of the Treasury to LandBank. According to the EO, the PostBank will be converted into the “Overseas Filipino Bank” which is 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. In 2018, the OF Bank was formally launched, and now overseas Filipinos could start availing its financial services.
As a digital-only facility, the OF Bank utilizes Digital Onboarding System with Artificial Intelligence (DOBSAI) to facilitate real-time account opening via its mobile app. The new digital account opening platform allows OFs and their beneficiaries to securely and conveniently submit all requirements online.
Opening an account could take just 5 minutes or less using a smart phone or gadget. However, one must download the mobile banking app of OF Bank from Apple Store or Google Play.
There are three types of accounts available in OF Bank: the OFBank Visa Debit Card for OFs and OFWs, the OFBank Visa Debit Card for beneficiaries, and the OFBank Debit Card for beneficiaries below 18 years old. These are interest-bearing peso savings accounts with no minimum initial deposit and monthly average daily balance, as well as dormancy fee. To earn interest, the accounts need to have a daily balance of P500.00. The OF Bank Visa Debit Card allows cardholders, specifically the beneficiaries of OFs and OFWs, to receive secure and convenient real-time fund transfers using Visa Direct. Putting cash in the account could be made via remittance companies or by using LandBank remittance system and visa direct partners, or payroll for seafarers.
The OF Bank is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and supervised by the Department of Finance. Among the features and services introduced by the OF Bank include its mobile payment technology that would allow OFs to remit money to the Philippines through the platform, bills payment, cashless payment, and cash withdrawal thru local and international ATMs.