Bank for Saudi-based OFWs still on track

Posted on June 14, 2017

FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan for a bank for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia is still on track for implementation at the end of the third quarter, despite the turmoil generated by the Gulf states’ dispute with Qatar.

A line of returning Filipino workers queue on a special immigration lane for Overseas Filipino Workers. -- AFP
“They told me the schedule is still right, end of September,” the Finance secretary told reporters at the Department of Finance headquarters in Manila.

The Philippine Postal Savings Bank (Postal Bank) will act as the OFW bank in Riyadh, in a tieup with the LandBank of the Philippines.

Asked whether the Qatar situation will delay or defer the implementation, Mr. Dominguez said: “I don’t think so. It’s nothing. Those guys will settle it among themselves, I’m very confident.”

Several states, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar amid claims that it funds terrorist groups.

“It’s only quarreling between neighbors, besides US is stepping in. They’re going to be the peacemaker there,” he added.

The bank was then-candidate Mr. Duterte’s campaign promise for OFWs, to facilitate remittances.

The bank will be publicly listed, with an authorized capital of P3 billion, and up to 30% or P1 billion of it will be owned by OFWs.

It will also offer financial education and investment counseling services to OFWs upon its establishment.

LandBank President Alex V. Buenaventura said that they decided to open the unit in Riyadh because 40% of OFWs are based in Saudi Arabia

LandBank needs to secure clearances from the Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG), Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), before making the OFW bank operational.

Earlier, Mr. Dominguez also considered putting up another branch of the OFW Bank in Bahrain, after his meeting with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce. -- Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan