MANILA, Philippines—UK-based remittance company Xpress Money has stressed the need for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to be educated on investing their savings. “We find a strong responsibility to equip our future OFWs with everything they need to sustain themselves and lead a secure life away from home,” Joel Candy, Xpress Money Regional Vice President, said in an interview.
At the inauguration of its first OFW Center in Manila on Friday, Candy also stressed the company’s initiative as a way of giving back to the Filipino community, saying it is the “logical step ahead” to boost our level of communication and engagement with our outbound workers. He said the OFW Center, targeted specifically for first-time overseas workers, was expected to become a training and educational hub, as well as a center for seminars and workshops.
Candy also noted the role of the center as a “built response” to the government’s Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS), a requirement by the government for all Filipinos who have already obtained a valid work visa in a foreign country.
“At the centers, we are not just looking at the PIDOS activity but also creating modules on financial literacy, modules on key do’s and don’ts in visiting other countries, and providing venues for supporting meetings conducted by partner agencies,” Candy said.
For his part, Xpress Money Vice President for Global Marketing and Communications Vinesh Venugopal Nair said there is also a need for them to enhance the “social character” of their brand through corporate social responsibility (CRS) initiatives, and for their company to live up to their “bringing home closer” brand name.
“We realize that our commitment to the country requires us to boost our CSR initiatives because they give us an idea of what the people need,” Nair said. “When we talk about bringing home closer, we can’t do that sitting million miles away from them.” Nair said members of his company have conducted relief operations and road trips to rural parts of the Philippines, giving away school materials through the help of partner organizations. He said part of the company’s commitment was being familiar with the challenges that the rural populace face.
Xpress Money has been doing business in the country for more than a decade, providing various services such as cash to cash, cash to bank, and online money transfers. It has tie ups with various banks and corporations like Banco De Oro, Allied Bank, and Metrobank, as well as Cebuana Lhuillier and I-remit. It has also expressed interest in expanding through tie-ups with rural banks nationwide.
Candy expressed high hopes for the remittance industry in the country, saying that the Philippines has proven time and again its capability in withstanding economic downfalls. He cited an example in years 2008-2009, when he said the country was expected to gain negative remittances but it proved them wrong.
He said the country was expected to have key gains in remittances, saying his company expected market share to grow from 3-3.2 percent to 3 to 5 percent in the next two years. “Average inbound remittances from this country remained in the ranges of 4 – 5%, healthy looking compared to other countries and how they fared in the global unwind,” Candy said.
Amado Tetangco, Manila assistant city administrator and Estrella Mae Anoñuevo, Atikha Overseas Workers and Communities Initiatives executive director, also attended the event.
By Fatima Reyes