Jeddah — Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia will have their own bank by September next year, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying by the media in the Philippines.
State-run LandBank will acquire Philippine Postal Savings Bank and transform it into OFW Bank, which would be 30-percent owned by overseas Filipino workers with an authorized capital of P3 billion, he said.
LandBank President Alex Buenaventura said the bank’s Saudi unit will be opened in Riyadh because 40 percent of Filipinos based in the Kingdom reside in the Saudi capital.
“The LandBank unit will be opened near the Philippine labor office or near a place where Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) usually converge and meet,” he said.
Buenaventura said the Riyadh unit will initially offer financial education and investment counseling services to OFWs.
A bank dedicated to the needs of OFWs is one of the promises made by President Rodrigo Duterte to Filipino migrant workers, said the Department of Finance (DOF).
There are more than 800,000 Filipinos residing in Saudi Arabia.
“The acquisition of the Postal Bank will be completed by the third quarter of 2017. The LandBank has sufficient resources to complete this transaction,” said Dominguez, who chairs the LandBank board of directors.
Buenaventura said it would take eight months to accomplish the requirements that would convert the Postal Bank into a LandBank subsidiary.
“We are going to do focus group discussions with representatives of our target markets to determine where and what services are needed, and what name and logo to adopt for the bank,” he said.
To complete the acquisition, LandBank will seek clearances from the Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GCG) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).
The government bank also needs approval from the Monetary Board, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the OFW bank to be operational by Sept. 1, 2017.