Binay raises concerns over hike in remittance fees

Posted at 07/20/14 3:53 PM

MANILA -- Vice President Jejomar Binay warned that the increase in remittance fees in United States-based banks could adversely impact the Filipinos sending their money here.

In a letter to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., Binay said the central bank should address the situation.

“I take note of the efforts of the BSP to address this development and I am optimistic that you will make the needed representations and take the needed steps to mitigate the effects of such policies on our kababayans in the US,” he said.

In response to a government regulation, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup have scrapped programs that allowed migrant workers to send money back to their families at a reduced cost.

The US government has been monitoring money laundering activities due to a series of scandals.

In 2012, HSBC was accused to have failed to monitor the more than $670 billion in wire transfers and $9.4 billion in purchases of US currency from HSBC Mexico.

The following year, it agreed to pay $1.9 billion in a settlement agreement to resolve charges it was being used as a bank for drug cartels.

“A plan to increase remittance fees would adversely impact on the millions of Filipinos in the United States who regularly send money to their families in the Philippines,” Binay said.

Binay is the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns.

The US has been the biggest source of OFW remittances in recent years, with almost $10 billion remitted to the country in 2013 alone.