State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines expects to soon complete the acquisition Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PostalBank), which it wants to rebrand as a remittance arm catering to Filipinos working abroad.
LandBank President Alex Buenaventura that the lender’s board had approved approved a zero-value purchase. In June, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said Postal Bank had a negative value of P580 million.
“We will rename it as Overseas Filipino Bank (OFW Bank) and transform it as the remittance marketing arm of Landbank. The OFW Bank will have marketing officers located at consular offices abroad to service the banking requirements of overseas Filipinos,” Buenaventura told reporters.
LandBank, he added, still has to secure the appropriate clearances.
“We are going to present the position to the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations for approval. If GCG endorses it, it will be forwarded to Malacañang for approval of the President. Simultaneously we will have to get approval from the Monetary Board,” Buenaventura said.
“We will have to infuse maybe a billion pesos to capitalize it,” he added.
The bank president said a pilot test would be conducted in Dubai in January, to followed by Bahrain, most likely by April next year.
“If things are running, we hope to launch it in January. One advantage of being a government bank, we can hold office with the Philippine embassy and consular office,” he said.
Asked if the OFW Bank would offer lower rates, Buenaventura said: “That’s already included. The President wanted very minimal or low remittance fees so we may have to go that track. Then maybe just make money out of other products like deposit loans.”