Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are referred to as “Modern Day Heroes” primarily because of their contributions to help prop up the national economy through their remittances. As such, it is but proper and fitting to ensure that the welfare of these modern day heroes are taken care of and their remittances be safeguarded against fraud to ensure that said remittances are received by beneficiaries in a safe and timely manner.
To provide our OFWs with safe, fast and affordable ways to remit their earnings in the Philippines, the following commercial banks in the Philippines have extended their operations overseas to offer remittance services:
- Philippine National Bank
- Banco De Oro
- Bank of Philippine Islands
- Land Bank of the Philippines
- Development Bank of the Philippines
- Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation
- China Banking Corporation
- Allied Banking Corporation
- Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company
These commercial banks further organized themselves into a formal association known as the Association of Bank Remittance Officers, Inc. (ABROI), in order to set-up standards to improve the operations on remittance services and agreed to accept remittances for credit to their own bank and remittances for deposit to other banks, where the OF beneficiary account is maintained.
To course the remittances for deposit to other banks and credit the beneficiary account maintained with the bank, ABROI member-banks use the following channels:
- Courier delivery services. With the courier delivery services, the remitter will pay additional P100/transaction and consequently exposes his remittances to possible theft, robbery and fraud.
- Electronic Peso Clearing System (EPCS) of the Philippine Clearing House Corporation (PCHC). If the bank uses the facilities of EPCS-PCHC, the funds/remittances may not be immediately credited to the account of the beneficiary since EPCS transactions should be settled first in PhilPaSS. The beneficiary bank, depending on its business rules, may impose a fee that ranges from “no charge” to as high as P250 for crediting the remittance to the accounts of OF beneficiaries. In addition, when an OFW remitter inadvertently indicates wrong information on his/her beneficiaries’ details resulting in the delayed crediting of funds into the account of the beneficiaries, such errors are sometimes not immediately communicated by the beneficiary bank to the remitting bank.
To eliminate the risks and facilitate the crediting of the accounts of beneficiaries on-time for remittances that are coursed thru other banks, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to utilize PhilPaSS as the settlement arm or inter-bank clearing facility for OFW remittances was signed on 2 December 2009 by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Bankers’ Association of the Philippines (BAP), Chamber of Thrift Banks (CTB), Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) and ABROI.
The agreement to use PhilPaSS as a settlement arm of OFW remittances is also in response to the advocacies of the BSP to bring into the formal channel via the banks, the OFW remittances to ensure that they are properly safeguarded from remittance fraud and mishandling.