Overseas Filipino bank to open in Jan. 2018

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello says the new OFW ID can be used for transactions in the bank. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — Overseas Filipinos would be able to transact with the new Overseas Filipino Bank (OFB) beginning next year, the Labor Secretary said Thursday.

"The intention here is to cover not only the overseas Filipino workers but also the overseas Filipinos. Because just like our OFWs, our overseas Filipinos are also contributing a lot to Philippine economy," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a media briefing in Malacañang.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 44 in Sept. 28, approving the Land Bank of the Philippines' acquisition of Philippine Postal Savings Bank, and convert it into the OFB.

READ: Duterte creates special bank for overseas Filipinos

Bello said the OFB will have a nine-man board chaired by Land Bank president.

The Labor Chief will nominate three members.

"One to represent the Department of Labor; another to represent the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, OWWA for short; and the third would be a nominee coming from the ranks of the OFWs," he said.

Bello said they are considering use the money from the planned OFW rebate program to have more seats for workers in the board.

"So instead of ... giving it individually to our OFWs, we are thinking of using this amount to buy into the OF Bank. To entitle the OFWs to at least three board seats, so magiging anim 'yan [it will become six]," he said.

He added the iDOLE, or the identification card for OFWs in place of the Overseas Employment Certificate, can be used for OFB transactions.

There are 10.2 million Filipinos worldwide as of 2013, according to the latest estimate of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. Most of them are working or living in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Latest data from the Central Bank show that OFWs have cash remittances of around U.S.$16.1 billion from January to July this year.

CNN Philippines' Eimor P. Santos contributed to this report.