Manila - More than 12 million Filipinos may now enjoy the convenience of Citi's electronic payments platform with the introduction of the Pag-Ibig Citi Prepaid Card. The launch followed the signing late last year of an agreement between Citi and its first public sector client for Prepaid Cards, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), also known as the Pag-Ibig Fund.
Mylene Caparas, Country Head of Citi Transaction Services for the Philippines, joined the Chief Executive Officer of HMDF Atty. Darlene Marie Berberabe during the launch event attended by key media organizations. HDMF is the provident financial institution in the country, and membership is mandatory for all Filipino employees, onshore and offshore.
Citi seniors, including Asia Pacific Head of Public Sector for Asia Aamir Rahim, Asia Pacific Head of Bank Services Group and Public Sector Munir Nanji and Head of Corporate Banking for the Philippines Usman Ahmed, also graced the event and lent their support.
The Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid card is initially being offered to the fund members onshore. HDMF will offer the card as an option to members for the disbursement of proceeds of Multi-Purpose Loans or Calamity Loans. It is a faster, more convenient and safer way of receiving and using their loan proceeds, and members may sign up to avail of the card upon filing their loan applications.
During the launch, Pag-IBIG lauded the partnership of Pag-IBIG and Citi Philippines, as well as issuer Visa saying "this is the kind of beneficial consequence that results when government and the private sector work towards a common goal."
Pag-IBIG tapped the banking experience and the financial expertise of Citi Philippines to assist in the distribution of the monetary benefits to its members.
"Citi is pleased to partner with the Home Development Mutual Fund and offer Pag-Ibig members the choice of receiving their loan benefits via a prepaid card. It's certainly a more secure alternative to carrying cash, plus with a three-year validity, the card can be reloaded should the owner avail of another loan during that period. This is one of the most exciting products in our transaction services portfolio, and we are pleased with the warm reception so far," related Caparas.
Borrowers who are interested to apply for the card can go to the nearest Pag-IBIG branch office and file their loan application. Once approved, the loan proceeds will be credited to their Pag-IBIG Citi Prepaid Card, and the member can then shop at more than 130,000 Visa-accepting merchants nationwide and withdraw cash at any local ATMs.
"Over the years, Visa has developed close relationships with governments around the world to create greater efficiencies through electronic payments," said Iain Jamieson, Visa Country Manager, Philippines and Guam. "In fact, electronic payments have been recognized as a factor in stimulating economic growth and consumption to benefit local economies - in 2012, we saw more than 80 percent year-on-year growth for Visa prepaid cards locally. Our partnership with Pag-IBIG and Citi is just one of the many initiatives that showcase our commitment in providing cardholders with safe and convenient ways to make transactions, as well as extend the many benefits of Visa to a wider range of Filipinos."
The multi-purpose loan aims to provide financial assistance to members for their varied needs, including minor home improvements, additional capital in small business, tuition or educational expenses or for health and wellness. On the other hand, members who reside in calamity-stricken areas can apply for a calamity loan where they can borrow up to 80 percent of their total savings. Both loan programs have a payment period of two years and are available to members who have made at least 24 monthly contributions.
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Citi Transaction Services
Citi Transaction Services, a division of Citi's Institutional Clients Group, offers integrated cash management, trade, and securities and fund services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world. With a network that spans more than 95 countries, Citi's Transaction Services supports over 65,000 clients. As of the third quarter of 2012, it held on average $415 billion in liability balances and $12.8 trillion in assets under custody.