A NUMBER of money transfer operators catering to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been shut down in the last two years as banks across the globe moved to plug possible channels of dirty money, the World Bank said.
In a report titled “Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook,” the multilateral lender noted of a slower growth in remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region last year to 4.2 percent from 7.4 percent in 2014.
“Slower growth in remittances to the region reflects the appreciation of the dollar against the currencies of other source countries, the decline in oil prices which may be dampening the Middle East’s demand for labor, and the closure of the bank accounts of money transfer operators in compliance with anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism regulations,” the report read.
Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the World Bank said 33 foreign banks across 13 countries closed the accounts of 32 Philippine remittance providers. The accounts totaled 84.
Banks have long been raising red flags related to money laundering activities, even way before some $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank were stolen and managed its way to Philippine accounts.
“A World Bank survey confirms that account closures are widespread, with adverse impacts on remittance costs and flows in rural and remote regions,” the lender said in a separate statement.