I-Remit Singapore soon fully Filipino-owned

Posted at 07/30/14 7:37 AM

MANILA - I-Remit Inc. on Monday said its Singaporean operations should soon be fully Filipino-owned as it bared plans to further expand its money-exchange and money-lending services for overseas Filipinos and nationalities of host countries.

“We’re in the process of finalizing the approval of our 100-percent-owned company, I-Remittance Singapore. We will end our partnership with the Singaporeans. We hope to obtain approval by the end of the year so that we can operate and do other businesses and do the expansions,” I-Remit Chairman and CEO Bansan Choa said at the sidelines of Monday’s I-Remit stockholder’s meeting.

Choa said the recent appreciation of the peso has prompted the company to increase its product lines.

“We already started the money-exchange business in Hong Kong late last year. We also made studies on the legal requirements for setting up money exchange in countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom. We’re also doing the probability, if it’s allowed in those countries, to do money lending,” he told the BusinessMirror.

He said they will be adding two branches in Singapore which entails investments of about S$1 million.

“We’re also in the expanding in Europe, Japan, Australia, by increasing our branches. We will have an additional branch in Perth and two more in Italy,” he added.

He also said the company is upgrading its information technology’s (IT) hardware and software for internal control procedures and for increased security, which will cost P100 million.

On the money-lending service, the company targets to start offering it in Canada after securing approval from government agencies.

“We will try it in Canada first. If the system and procedure is in place, we will most likely do that in Hong Kong and in Australia,” he said.

To start with money-lending business, the company has set aside P300 million for the purpose.

He said clients may avail themselves of three-to six-month salary loans, payable up to a maximum of two years.

The money-lending business is targeted to kick-off by the third quarter of the year.

I-Remit Vice President and Compliance Officer Fritzgerald Duba said the company has 6-percent market share and that their remittance service charge is very competitive.

“We are expanding in Canada because of the increasing number of Filipino nurses there who regularly send money back home and in Singapore, where there are a number of IT professionals. Many of our overseas Filipino workers send money, regardless of exchange rate, while others like the professionals in Singapore, hold on to their money for when the peso appreciates,” he said.

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