President Rodrigo Duterte with other government officials during the launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank last year.
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — In becoming the first branchless digital-only bank in the country, the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) will soon be in full operation to service overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families for easier banking transactions amidst the coronavirus global pandemic that has prompted efforts to promote digital and online transactions.
OFBank recently secured its digital banking license from the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), according to an announcement by the Department of Finance (DoF).
OFBank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank).
Prior to the issuance of its license, the bank was able to commence its banking operations in June last year using its then-existing license to operate as a thrift bank.
Under Executive Order (EO) No. 44 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in September 2017, OFBank was created to establish a policy bank dedicated to providing financial products and services tailored to the requirements of overseas Filipinos.
“This milestone in the country’s banking history not only fulfills President Duterte’s campaign pledge to create a bank that caters to overseas Filipinos but will also help the Philippines leapfrog to the digital economy,” finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III proudly pointed out.
“When President Duterte said he would create a bank that would serve overseas-based Filipinos, he wanted a bank that would be a trailblazer in terms of modernizing and expanding the scope of the services it offers to them,” Dominguez added.
OFBank was launched virtually in June last year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the Philippines’ first branchless and digital-centric government bank.
While fine-tuning its operations, systems, and processes to enable its official transition into a digital bank, OFBank operated as a thrift bank, the DoF said.
In December 2020, the BSP issued Circular No. 1105 containing the guidelines on the establishment of digital banks, clearing the way for OFBank to apply for a license as a digital bank.
OFBank offers four digital products and services that include a digital on-boarding system with artificial intelligence (DOBSAI), which allows the real-time opening of a mobile banking deposit account on supported iPhone or Android devices.
Aside from deposit savings accounts, OFBank’s digital services also include fund transfers, bill payments, and applications for multi-purpose loans.
OFBank’s global digital reach spans 112 countries, with its clients able to access online the services of 763 merchants on-boarded in its mobile application via the LinkBiz.Portal. (AI/MTVN)