In its aim to reach the wider Filipino community, UAE Exchange, a leading financial services brand in the UAE and a Finablr company, has partnered with The Filipino Times. Through this new partnership, UAE Exchange aims to build a stronger connection among the Filipino community and become their most preferred financial solutions provider.
“Filipinos are one of the largest communities we serve at UAE Exchange and we have constantly looked at opportunities to engage with them. We are confident that this partnership will enable us to be one step closer to the OFWs, facilitate them with seamless movement of money through multiple customer touchpoints, and help them achieve their financial ambitions,” said Abdel Kareem Alkayed, Country Head at UAE Exchange-UAE.
Alkayed added that UAE Exchange believes in the success of this partnership. “The Filipino Times is the biggest Filipino newspaper in the country and the largest digital platform for Filipinos in the Middle East. The publication has proven its adeptness in communicating with the Filipinos through a language they all can resonate with, which not only complements our overarching strategy of engaging with the Filipino community but will also help us in strengthening our relationship with the community.”
Moreover, Alkayed said that UAE Exchange has an emotional connection with the Filipinos and that they have always found the market as one of their top priorities. According to him, UAE Exchange was among the first financial institutions to stand up and extend financial aid to the victims of Typhoon Washi (known in the Philippines as Tropical Storm Sendong), which struck the Philippines in December 2011.
Pinoy Panalo, Filipino Fest, Jollybee contests are some of the programs that UAE Exchange organized to not only reconnect with this market but, to also celebrate and reward Filipinos who have been loyal to their brand.
Recently, UAE Exchange launched a talent-based contest “Tara Pinoy Idol” for the Filipino community in the UAE. The contest, which runs until 25 December 2019, invites Filipinos to upload their performances through a 30-second video via the UAE Exchange mobile app. Videos that get the maximum number of votes are automatically shortlisted and the winner will win a fully-paid trip to Hollywood and Las Vegas. UAE Exchange is also awarding the second and third runner-up with an all-paid expense trip to Singapore and the UAE, respectively.
The financial brand is also organizing a ‘Referral program’ where customers who refer their friends to UAE Exchange can win cash prizes of AED 100,000. A successful referral will be when the friend has registered and transacted through any of the 150+ UAE Exchange branches. The program, which ends on 15 November 2019, gives both the customer and the friend a chance to win AED 50,000 each.
The collaboration with PayRemit is another value-added service that UAE Exchange offers to its customers. Filipinos can go to the payremit.com website and choose any gift for their loved ones and then pay that amount through installments from any of the UAE Exchange branches across the emirates.
The Filipino community in the UAE has continued to grow over the decades, from less than a thousand immigrants to 0.53 million, as per a report by Global Media Insights. UAE Exchange considers Filipinos an important market for them because of their perseverance, commitment, hard work and a vision to excel—which has made them the most sought-after community in the UAE.
“Remittances by OFWs continue to play a major catalyst role in the growth of their home country and have significantly contributed to the sustainable development of the Philippines economy. As per the Central Bank of the UAE report, the outward remittances to the Philippines from the UAE from June 2017 to 2019 has been 7.2% each year, making them the third-largest remittance recipient country after India and Pakistan,” said Alkayed
The Central Bank of the Philippines (CBP) also noted that the UAE is the third top source of remittance in the country last year—only next to the USA and Saudi Arabia. The UAE also closed 2018 with a total of USD 2.04 billion in cash sent to the Philippines.
According to Vince Ang, the General Manager of The Filipino Times, “We have always been keen to understand the essence of remittances for Filipinos and have conducted market research to understand the behavior of Filipinos in sending money and the value of exchange houses.”
In a survey conducted with over 5,000 OFWs, The Filipino Times learned that 37.5 percent of Filipinos allot 20 to 30 percent of their salary to remittances and 43 percent of them send money twice a month.
The research also highlighted three major reasons as to why Filipinos regularly send money back home. These include family allowance, financial assistance to family and friends, and investment.
“Our studies show that while OFWs today now see the value of investments, the need for them to help their loved ones back home has always been a major factor. This need to make the lives of their families better is a major reason Filipinos frequent exchange houses like UAE Exchange,” Ang said.
He added that around 83 percent of Filipinos still prefer exchange houses when sending remittances over online transactions and banking. This is mainly due to the security they get from human interaction.
Some of the reasons that Filipinos have become loyal customers of UAE Exchange include the ease of accessibility, convenience, service, security, speed, and value. Michelyn Santos, an expat who has been living in the UAE for the past 12 years, said that she has tried other exchange centers, but she found UAE Exchange the easiest one to transact with.
“I am loyal to UAE Exchange because their branches are accessible—you can even do your business in any metro station. That is one of the first things that should be ticked off the list when choosing an exchange house,” she said.
OFW Louise Marasigan, on the other hand, said that he has become friends with the teller in the UAE Exchange branch he always sends remittances at.
“Based on my experience, the tellers at UAE Exchange are one of the most accommodating people I’ve dealt with. They process my remittances with a much friendlier face,” he said.