List of countries with the most Overseas Filipino Workers. As regards the distribution of OFWs by place of work, a 2016 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority shows that Saudi Arabia remains to be the top destination of Overseas Filipinos.
Among other top destination countries are:
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Hongkong, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia. Other top destination countries/continents include: Europe, North and South America, and Other countries in Western (including Bahrain, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan).
Getting your account open is really just a matter of providing certain details and funding your account. Once the formalities are done, you can start using your account — and save time and money.
What is Overseas Filipino Bank?
To cater the product and financial service needs of not just OFWs, but all Foreign based Filipinos, the Executive Order No. 44 was signed last September 28, 2017 by the incumbent president, which approved the acquisition of the Philippine Postal Bank (PPB) by Landbank, so that it can be converted into a bank for Overseas Filipino workers.
And thus, the conversion of PPB to what it is now, the Overseas Filipino Bank or the OFBank. This bank was made possible through a collaborative effort made by the country’s Department of Finance (DOF) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), which bought the Philippine Postal Bank (PPB) shares from the Philippine Postal Corporation.
Essentially, the Overseas Filipino Bank was launched with the primary aim to help OFWs have a better access not just of financial products and services, but also of better investment opportunities, thereby enabling them to do away with expensive remittance charges and investment scams. The OFBank was launched just four months after it was signed, so it has been operating since January 2018, and it shall operate domestically and internationally within the next months.
The Philippine government is now planning to open OFBank foreign representative offices, in the second quarter of 2018, and these will be located in Abu-Dhabi, Bahrain, and Dubai. The expansion of its operation internationally, so that its services can reach to a wider range of OFWs abroad, is still an on-going process.
Fundamentally, what the government is working on is in deploying OFBank foreign representatives inside the Philippine embassies and consular offices.
As of now, Overseas Filipino Bank Address of the Main Branch is located in Postbank Center, Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, 1000.
Products and Services
The Overseas Filipino Bank offers 15 banking products and services, and these include peso ATM savings, time deposits, checking accounts, investment products ( e.g. Unit Investment Trust Fund), loan products, payment services, and remittance services.
The investment product offered by OFBank likewise enables Overseas Filipinos to invest in the preferred shares of OFBank, and thereby enabling them to become co-owners or the bank. As for its payment services, this service by OFbank enables OFWs to pay from abroad their beneficiaries’ telephone and water bills, business and housing loans, OWWA, PhilHealth, and SSS dues, insurance premiums, credit cards, and tuition fees directly.
How to Open an Overseas Filipino Bank Account
Given the inconvenience of having to go back to the Philippines just to open a new account, OFWs are faced with a dilemma on how to open a bank account while abroad. Good thing there are banks that enable OFWs to open a bank account while abroad, such as BPI, BDO, PNB, Metrobank, and Landbank.
But since finding these banks abroad OFWs may find to be time-consuming, a newly launched Overseas Filipino Bank was specially established for OFWs and other foreign-based Filipinos, so that they can easily provide support to their dependents at home, without having to face expensive remittance charges and investment scams even. Now, if you are an OFW or a foreign-based Filipino considering opening an Overseas Filipino Bank account, refer to this guide of the important things you should know about Overseas Filipino Bank and the guidelines on how to open one.
1. Step-by-Step Procedure on How to Open an Overseas Filipino Bank Account
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III stated that the process of opening an Overseas Filipino Bank account has the same procedure as when applying for accounts in other banks.
Process of Applying for an OFBank Savings/Dollar Account
- Go directly to the Overseas Filipino Bank branch, whose main branch is in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila.
As said earlier, the government is still in the talks of expanding its operations domestically and internationally. They are currently working on applying for necessary licenses so that the Overseas Filipino Bank would be more accessible to OFWs and other Foreign-based Filipinos. If you are an OFW currently based in Abu-Dhabi, Bahrain, And Dubai, you should expect an OFB foreign representative office by the second to the third quarter of 2018, in which you can open an account.
- Note: An Overseas Filipino Bank website www.ofbank.com.ph soon to accept online applications. No tentative date was announced as to when it is going to be launched, so just wait for further announcements from the bank.
- Pass all the required documents.
The requirement documents you need to pass in opening an Overseas Filipino Bank savings account/dollar Account is still not fully articulated. But as Secretary Bello puts it, the requirements needed for you to be able to open one is still the same as when opening accounts in other banks. So, here are the general requirements:
General Requirements needed when opening an Overseas Filipino Bank savings account/dollar account
- Fully accomplished application form
- Note: You can procure a form online and have it passed online as well once the OFBank website is launched. But while it is not yet launched, you still have to go to the branch to get an application form. Wait for further announcements when the OFB website will be made available, so that you can apply online.
- 2 Valid Government Issued ID (original and photocopy)
Make sure that you bring your OFW ID with you as you go to the branch.
- Note: Aside from your OFW ID, bring at least one of these government issued valid IDs: passport, driver’s license, voter’s ID, OWWA ID, SSS ID, postal ID, PRC ID, NBI clearance, Barangay Certification, or other government-issued valid IDs.
- 1×1 ID picture
- Note: These are only the general requirements for savings/dollar account, and the OFBank may require one or more additional requirements. If it is the case that you want to avail other products and services by OFBank, such as loans or investments, an eligibility criteria must also be satisfied for you to avail such services. You may opt to go to the branch to inquire as regards additional requirements and eligibility criteria for OFBank’s loan application, and these two plus minimum investment amount for OFBank’s investment opportunities.
How would Overseas Filipino Bank benefit OFWs?
As stated earlier, the Overseas Filipino Bank was especially made to cater the financial and product needs not just of OFWs, but of all Foreign based Filipinos. Now, through OFBank, all Foreign-based Filipinos would no longer have to endure expensive remittance charges, just so they would be able to send their hard-earned money to their loved ones at home, as the remittance transactions are made more budget friendly.
Through OFBank, OFWs can remit money in the most affordable, fastest, secured, and most convenient way possible through their mobile credit-to-account system. Moreover, OFBank is currently working on its Future Need Savings Plan, which aims to help OFWs develop and improve their saving habits. But it doesn’t just encourage you to save, for OFBank likewise enables a feasible investment opportunity for OFWs.
The bank does not just offer a United Investment Trust Fund, which they can avail, also does it provide OFWs the means to invest in OFBank shares, thereby enabling OFWs to be co-owners of the bank. Furthermore, the bank’s payment services makes it easier for OFWs and their beneficiaries or loved ones at home to avail loans to start a business, or to build or renovate their home. Aside from these, OFBank’s payment services also enables OFWs to pay for their children’s tuition fees, their beneficiaries’ telephone or water bills, credit cards, and SSS and PhilHealth dues.
What are the available alternatives if I want to open a Philippine Bank Account While Abroad?
To open a Philippine bank account abroad, though limited, there are banks that offer such services, such as BDO, BPI, DBP, Metrobank, and Landbank. Essentially, these banks have overseas branches, desk offices in tie-up banks, and subsidiaries which allow you to open a bank account even while abroad.
- BDO Hongkong and BDO Overseas Directories
- BPI Direct Savings Overseas
- Landbank Subsidiaries Overseas
- Metrobank Overseas Branches and Subsidiaries
- PNB Overseas Directory
Aside from these, however, there was this newly launched Overseas Filipino Bank, which was tailored, most especially, to cater the financial product and service needs of OFWs and other Foreign based Filipinos, so that they can easily provide support to their dependents at home, without having to face expensive remittance charges. Also will this provide OFWs with more investment schemes that will help OFWs take advantage of the country’s capital market.
Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1. Aside from the main branch in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, are there other local branches of Overseas Filipino Bank?
As of now, the only branch in the Philippines is the main branch located in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila. However, local branches will soon be launched in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Legazpi, and in all other cities in the Philippines where there is an existing Philippine Postal Savings Bank branch.
2. How about foreign branches, where are the other foreign branches of Overseas Filipino bank?
As of February 11, 2018, there are no foreign representative offices of Overseas Filipino Bank operating. By the second or quarter of 2018, however, OFWs based in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Dubai can expect an OFBank foreign representative office, which will be located inside the Philippine embassy and consular office. You can also expect an OFBank branch in countries with the most OFWs, especially in Middle East nations. The government is currently working on expanding its operation internationally by acquiring licenses, so that the financial products and services would be more accessible to OFWs from all over the world.
3. It was stated that the remittance fee will be much cheaper, how much will it exactly be?
According to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the remittance fee will be very much “cheaper than the present rate.” So, if, for instance, the present rate is $20, with OFBank, the remittance fee will be worth $10-15.
4. I am currently based in Saudi Arabia, would it be okay if it is my family from the Philippines who would open an Overseas Filipino Bank account for me?<
If you are an OFW and you intend to open an OFBank account in the Philippines, given that OFBank is still not available in your place of work abroad, then, unfortunately, you cannot open an OFBank account, as circumstances do not allow your family member to serve as a representative so that an OFBank account will be opened for you. Your presence is required in signing forms so it would not be possible.
So, the available option for you to be able to open an account, then, is to go to the local main branch located in Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila, when you go back to the Philippines. But you can also wait until an OFBank foreign representative office will be launched in your place of work, abroad. Take note that if you are an OFW currently based in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, or Dubai, you can expect an OFBank foreign representative office where you can apply for an OFBank deposit account, by the second or third quarter of 2018. These will be located inside the Philippine embassy and consular office. The Overseas Filipino Bank online website will be launched soon, so just wait for
for further announcements when the OFBank online application will be made available.
5. I would like to avail myself Overseas Filipino Bank’s investment schemes. How do I start?
Well, prior to opening an investment account, you would have to open an OFBank savings/deposit account first. Also, you would have to undergo a Client Suitability Assessment to determine your risk tolerance and the corresponding OFBank investment type that suits your risk profile. Essentially, this Client Suitabilty Assessment will determine if you are a conservative, moderate risky, or aggressive investor. A minimum investment amount is required for you to start. As of now, the minimum investment amount is not yet known, so it is best to inquire at the bank.
As stated earlier, OFBank offers a Unit Invest Trust Fund, a type of investment that is regulated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipina. This UITF would enable OFWs and all foreign based Filipinos to avail a form of investment, which, in contrast to when you invest in stock market, is newbie-friendly, for there is a professional fund manager who would take care of growing your money. This is a good option for new investors, especially for OFWs who have lesser time to study more advanced investment-related knowledge. But, of course, you would have to allot an ample amount of time learning basic investment knowledge.
Aside from UITF, the OFBank also offers an investment opportunity, which allows OFWs and foreign based Filipinos to invest in the OFBank’s shares, thereby enabling them to become a co-owner of the bank. This one requires a more hands-on approach from you. You can learn the basics of investment by attending seminars and trainings. There are even short crash courses online to educate yourself further.
6. Can I apply for an Overseas Filipino Bank Account online?
As of now, you cannot. The OFBank website is yet to be launched, and no announcement was made as to when it would be available. But by the time it becomes available, you can avail and apply for the financial products and services offered by OFBank online.
7. I want to start a business and I intend to avail OFBank’s loan products. How much is the maximum amount and what are the requirements needed?
OFBank offers non-collateral loans of up to P350,000 for OFWs, but you can also avail higher loan packages. But these higher loan packages higher than P350,000 may be subjected to collaterals. As for the interest rate, according to DOLE Secretary Bello, the interest rate is at 6% annually. And ss for the requirements, the requirements you would have to pass is the same as when you apply for loan in other banks. Some of the general requirements include:
- Duly-filled application form
- Certificate of Employment (COE) (should be authenticated by the Philippine Consulate)
- Crew Contract and Exit Pass (Should be authenticated by POEA)
- Last 3 months’ pay slip
- 2×2 picture
- At least 2 Government-issued valid IDs (Some valid IDs include: OFW ID or iDole ID, OWWA ID, passport, driver’s license, NBI clearance, SSS, barangay clearance, postal ID, PRC ID and other government issued IDs)
Note: Depending on what loan type you are going to avail, the bank may require you to bring additional documents other than what is stated above. And so to save you some time going back and forth to the bank, feel free to contact OFBank’s customer services as regards the loan type and what documents you are required to bring