Record High Remittances to the Philippines Lead to Increased Competition among Philippine Banks


Nkechi Carroll

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January 31, 2008

Remittances to the Philippines from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) reached record high levels in 2007, despite a decline in the number of OFWs. According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), total remittances are expected to reach $14.7 billion for 2007, up five percent from 2006. The Philippine economy has historically benefited greatly from robust growth in remittances, and Philippine banks have enjoyed significant fee income generated by their remittance business lines. In response to the continued growth in the remittance market, banks are increasingly focused on improving their remittance operations and gaining a competitive edge. This has resulted in a flurry of activity both domestically and overseas, including the opening of new remittance branches in the United States. This Asia Focus report looks at the increase in remittance activity in the Philippines and the banking system’s response to this growing market.