Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business gateway between the Middle East, Africa and Asia, today welcomed BDO Unibank – the first Philippine bank to operate in its premises.  

The UAE is home to an estimated 700,000 Filipino expatriates and BDO Unibank’s objectives include supporting them, while facilitating investments and money flow to the Philippines.

Arif Amiri, Deputy CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “We are pleased to welcome BDO Unibank, a leader in the financial services field from the Philippines. This is a direct outcome of our overall strategy to facilitate integration between the Asian and Middle Eastern companies.”

“We remain conscious of the diverse demographic constituents of the UAE and are committed to catering to the evolving requirements of each population segment,” Amiri added.

BDO Unibank, the largest bank in the Philippines, provides a variety of corporate, commercial and retail banking services, including traditional loan and deposit products. This is in addition to treasury, trust banking, investment private banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, insurance, retail cash cards and credit card services.

Commenting on the decision to set up base in DIFC, Nestor V Tan, President and CEO – BDO Unibank said: “BDO Unibank’s establishment of a representative office in Dubai is driven by its objective to further widen our overseas network to provide support to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and residents. This expansion into Dubai will boost our capability to service the needs of our countrymen in the entire Middle East and, hopefully, make the bank a catalyst for the progress of financial inclusion of the expatriates in the Philippines.”  

Committed to concretising its position as one of the world’s top five financial hubs, DIFC announced its 10-year growth strategy in June this year, aiming to maximise symbiosis amongst clients and further expand the Centre’s regulatory and physical infrastructure.

Asia remains a key strategic focus for DIFC. As part of this priority, the Centre has been proactively engaging with players in the region through roadshows in China and India.

DIFC aims to grow the financial sector’s share of the UAE economy to 18 per cent of the GDP by 2024, compared to its 12 per cent share in 2013.