THE Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG reported a 12 percent increase in approved housing loans for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) last year as its OFW membership base also increased.
In a statement on Tuesday, Pag-IBIG said approved housing loans for OFWs rose to P12.15 billion in 2015 from P10.81 billion in 2014 and accounted for 28 percent of the P34.93 billion total housing loans approved last year.
It said the average loan value of OFW loans was P993,000.
Pag-IBIG added that the number of housing loan borrowers increased 10 percent to 12,232 last year from 11,154 borrowers in 2014.
“The borrowers are Filipino seafarers and land-based OFWs in 54 different countries,” Pag-IBIG said.
Seafarers availed of P5.34 billion in housing loans while land-based OFWs borrowed a total of P6.81 billion.
“Of this number, 1,812 OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the country that hosts the biggest number of OFWs, availed of housing loans worth P1.74 billion; while 1,718 OFWs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a combined loan amount of P1.78 billion,” the fund said.
As of June of this year, OFWs accounted for 27 percent or 4.4 million of the 16.6 million total Pag-IBIG members.
“We are happy that Pag-IBIG is able to contribute to the realization of an important dream of our modern day heroes; that is to provide decent shelter to their families,” Pag-IBIG Fund deputy chief executive officer Acmad Rizaldy Moti said, referring to the OFWs.
Pag-IBIG’s housing loan program offers an interest rate of as low as 5.5 percent for a one-year fixed-pricing period and a loan amount of up to P6 million for qualified Pag-IBIG members.
The said loan may be used to purchase residential properties such as house and lot, townhouse, or condominium unit; construction of a residential unit; and home improvement, among others.
“OFWs who are still abroad can apply for a housing loan by executing a Special Power of Attorney in favor of a representative in the Philippines who will file and process the application on his/her behalf,” Moti said.
“Pag-IBIG recognizes the hard work and sacrifices of our OFWs, which benefit not just their families but the country as a whole,” Pag-IBIG senior vice president Marilene Acosta said.
For this reason, she said Pag-IBIG has set up an OFW Center to provide personalized services for OFWs and their families.
“We encourage our OFWs to avail of the services and programs of Pag-IBIG Fund. We reassure them of our
commitment to support them in their efforts to prepare a decent future for their families through the acquisition of affordable homes and through prudent savings and investments,” Acosta said.
At present, Pag-IBIG has 23 Overseas Members Services Desks to cater to the needs of the OFWs.