On its 2nd year, OFBank now provides financial services to Filipinos in 119 countries 

Published August 17, 2022, 1:58 PM

by Edgard Hilario

Cultivating financial literacy among women serves as one of the driving goals of OFBank as seen through their pop-up stalls during Quezon City Women’s Month.  

The Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank) marks its second milestone year by showcasing that digital banking and investments can be accessed safely and conveniently by all Filipinos regardless of location—whether they are based in the Philippines or overseas. 

As the Philippines’ first branchless digital-only bank, OFBank has expanded its financial services to 119 other countries, empowering migrant workers, long-term travelers, and multi-generational immigrants as well as their families.  As a development partner, the Bank also guides clients to make smarter decisions about their future through money management advice via online and offline financial literacy webinars. 

“OFBank’s banking products and services reflect the collective gratitude of the nation to our modern-day heroes who have significantly contributed to the country’s growth.  We are also paving the way to expand financial inclusivity for our kababayans here at home,” OFBank President and Chief Executive Officer Leila Martin said. 

OFBank secured the very first digital banking license from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on March 25, 2021, and attained the required Php 1 billion minimum capitalization set by the latter for digital banks on May 26, 2022.  As digital modes of banking transactions increased globally, OFBank’s inflow of online banking transactions totaled Php 7.22 billion from servicing more than 80,000 accounts over the past two years.

At the core of the bank’s service is the Mobile Banking Application (MBA) which enables contactless account opening, cashless payments, and immediate transfer of funds that can be done anytime and anywhere.  The MBA’s current 148,000 downloads are further expected to increase as the world continues to navigate the global pandemic, such as the post-pandemic redeployment of OFWs into their host countries; the increase of their remittances; and the re-opening of borders encouraging greater travel. 

Aside from facilitating online transactions, OFBank has also leveled the investment playing field, enabling Filipinos to grow (and not just save) their hard-earned money. In 2021, through the OFBank mobile app, both investment newbies and veterans were able to access medium to long-term government investment products such as the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) Retail Onshore Dollar Bonds and the 25th and 26th tranches of the Retail Treasury Bonds (RTB). These low-risk, fixed-income investments allowed OFBank members to invest as low as Php 5,000 for RTBs and USD 300 for the RDB.  They also offered attractive interest rates: RTB-25 with an annual interest rate of 2.375% (3-year maturity) and RTB-26 with a gross interest rate of 4.625% per annum (5.5-year maturity). Meanwhile, Retail Onshore Dollar Bonds provided interest rates of 1.375% (5-year maturity) and 2.250% (10-year maturity).  

Sales generated from these investment instruments contributed to the government’s pandemic recovery and resiliency programs. OFBank raised a total of Php 8.275 million through RTB-25 from February 9 to March 4, 2021; Php 10.286 million through Retail Onshore Dollar Bonds from September 15 to October 1, 2021; and Php 17.485 million for RTB-26 from November 16 to 26, 2021.  

The continued emergence and preference for digital banking requires the enhanced financial literacy of Filipinos, who are increasingly becoming mindful of their personal finances. As such, training that is centered on saving, budgeting, and investment advice has never been more important. As part of strengthening the financial skills of migrant workers, OFBank has facilitated a total of 759 webinars and 99 Face-to-face Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) in 2021, followed by 240 online seminars and 43 PDOS from January to April 2022.  

Looking towards the future, the OFBank aims to increase its membership by continuously offering quality banking and financial services. “For the past two years, we have seen to it that digital banking financially empowers all Filipinos, especially those working overseas,” said Martin. “Serving them has made our anniversary even more meaningful. We will continue to innovate our products and services relevant to their needs towards building better lives.”