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More overseas Filipinos now put money in investments

MANILA, Nov. 10 (PNA) – Money being sent home by overseas Filipinos (OFs) is not purely used for consumption by their beneficiaries since part of the inflows is now placed in investments.

Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI) Executive Vice President Teresita Tan said portion of the inflows are sent home to pay mortgage of housing loans taken by among others overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Her statement was made after RIA Financial Services chief operating officer Timothy Fanning, in a briefing Wednesday, said some $21 billion remittances came to the Philippines at end-2009.

This figure is bigger than the $17.3 billion reported by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The difference between the $21 billion and the $17 billion goes to investments like housing loans,” Tan said on the sidelines of the launch on RIA’s partnership with Banco de Oro Unibank (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Island (BPI), MLuillier and Signed and Delivered.

Tan said BPI has a big share of housing loans extended to OFWs as part of their program to boost lending.

She said OFWs’ income are mostly for the basic needs of their beneficiaries but these workers have also realized the need to put their money in investments like house and lot as well as the need to set aside money as savings.

Relatively, Tan said the team-up with RIA would further boost the bank’s remittance business and help the bank attain its eight to 10 percent remittance target for this year.
She explained that bulk or about 85 percent of the inflows was deposited through the bank’s credit-to-account system since the remitters and their beneficiaries already have existing BPI account.

“This is aimed at enabling the beneficiaries to get the remittance 24/7 instead of going to our branches,” she explained.

However, since there are instances wherein OFs need to send money to someone who does not have any BPI account yet Tan said they recently introduced an over-the-counter remittance transaction.

“This is for people who receive remittance for the first time. But our staff encourages these people to open an account for them to easily and conveniently get the remittances from any ATMs,” she added.

Meanwhile, Fanning said the Philippines is the fourth largest in the world in terms of remittance volume being sent home.

He said this is the reason why the company decided to team up with big names in the remittance business in the country.

“We’re here to provide choice and convenient remittance service with highest quality,” he said.
Fanning said they have lower service fee compared to the three major remittance firms in the country but he declined to give any figures since the price depends on the volume of money being sent home.
He said agreements with four telecommunication firms in the country are also on the pipeline for this year since they are now finalizing systems-related issues.
“Fourth quarter is still an easy objective for us,” he said with regards to their planned remittance service using mobile phones.
RIA is also set to launch this coming December 1 their website, www.riaworldwide.com, to enable more customers to tap the firm’s services.
“More Filipinos are now becoming technology savvy so they can easily use this facility to remit or receive their money,” he added. ■

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