It’s common belief that OFWs earn a lot and no longer require financial assistance, but in reality, while they do earn more, they also typically spend more due to the higher cost of living of where they work. This makes local loan programs attractive to them, as the difference in the value of the currency really makes an impact locally.
What is an OFW loan?
An OFW loan is a local program meant for Filipinos who are working outside of the country. The most common loans are housing loans, auto loans, and cash or personal loans. As these are meant to cater specifically to OFWs, the requirements and terms of payments are more manageable and convenient for them.
Where can you get an OFW loan?
There are several financial institutions that offer these loan programs. Major banks such as Banco de Oro (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), are some banks which offer these programs.
BDO has a Kabayan Program that offers a multi-purpose and non collateral personal loan for OFWs with fixed income. A minimum of P10,000 is offered for fixed monthly payments.
BPI is also offering collateral-free personal loans, which amount to three times of your salary ranging from P20,000 to P1,000,000. Payment can be done monthly through the bank’s automatic debit facility. The loan will be received through your BPI account.
Land Bank of the Philippines
Land Bank has a partnership with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide business opportunities for OFWs on a sustainable basis. Eligible borrowers are those who are endorsed by OWWA. Loanable amount is from P300,000 to P2,000,000 which can be paid from one year to seven years.
Aside from the major banks, there are other financial institutions that offer loans specifically for OFWs like Cash Mart, Global Dominion Financial Incorporated (GDFI), and BalikBayad. These institutions provide cash loans that are known to have easier approval processes than banks.
Cashmart provides extra cash flow for families back home. An OFW can borrow P5,000 to P30,000, one day approval period, with terms of payment of seven to 30 days.
Global Dominion Financial Incorporated
GDFI is a multi-purpose cash loan for land-based OFWs. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is P2,000,000, which you can use for tuition, travel, home renovation, or a major purchase. A co-borrower is required to avail of this loan.
Balikbayad offers loans with a maximum of two times the borrower’s salary. Like GDFI, a co-borrower is required to enroll in this program.
How to get an OFW loan from the government
Pag-IBIG Housing Loan requires applicants, both locally or overseas employed, to complete the same process, although they have additional requirements for OFWs, such as: proof of income (employment contract, original employer’s certificate of income, other proofs of income); Special Power of Attorney notarized before one's departure date or authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the country of employment; and Health Statement Form for OFWs over 60 years old
SSS has a Direct Housing Loan Facility for OFWs program which is designed to support the shelter program of the Government. You are eligible to apply for this loan if:
- You are currently deployed under a contract processed through POEA or authenticated by the Embassy abroad;
- You have an employment contract which is awaiting renewal;
- You are a Filipino national but who is now a citizen or immigrant of a foreign country, but is interested to buy a house for his family who is still in the country.
The maximum loanable amount is P2,000,000, payable in multiples of five years up to a maximum of fifteen years.
There are many reasons why an OFW would come back to the Philippines, and unfortunately some are them are due to job displacement caused by wars and even occasions of abuse. For this, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has reintegration programs which offers returning OFWs a way to stabalize their finances in the Philippines.
1. Balik-Pinas! Balik-Hanapbuhay! Program
While the project does not offer cash, it offers livelihood assistance for returning OFWs. According to OWWA's website, "the program is a package of livelihood assistance amounting to P10,000 maximum consisting of: b. techno-skills and/or entrepreneurial trainings; b) starter kits/goods and/or; c) such other services that will enable the target beneficiaries to quick start a livelihood undertaking through self/wage employment."
2. Overseas Filipino Workers – Enterprise Development and Loan Program (OFW-EDLP)
This loaning program is done in collaboration with the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines. Loans are meant to be puhunan to help returning OFWs start their own business. Eligible ventures include:
- Franchising business;
- Contract tie-up with top 1000 corporations;
- Agri and non-agri production/manufacturing;
- Construction/rental business;
- Service/trading business;
- Transport service;
- Any viable project whether existing or new.