A couple of days ago, a forum member based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia forwarded me via email his application forms for his first stock investment account with COL Financial so that I could help him in reviewing the completeness and accuracy of data that he wrote down. I have been doing this for the past several months in order to assist OFW’s comply with the requirements of COL before sending the actual documents to their office by courier.
What struck me most was his determination to complete everything despite his limited resources and time to go to a computer shop in order to have his documents printed and scanned. Unfortunately, this is the 3rd time (and the 3rd month since he first submitted the draft forms) that I asked him to revise and complete the information in his application.
When I told him to provide a copy of his proof of billing address or a bank statement, he said he does not have a bank account in Saudi Arabia. He just opened a bank account with BPI recently which I also advised him to do by visiting an affiliate Saudi bank in Jeddah.
And then I asked him if there is a way for him to secure a copy of an electricity or water bill from his family in the Philippines, he said,
“Wala po kaming billing ng kuryente at ng tubig sa Pilipinas, sir, kasi gas lang po ang gamit namin dun at saka yung tubig ay balon at poso lang po.”
(We do not have any eletricity or water consumption bill in the Philippines, sir, as we are only using kerosene and the water is fetched only from a well and a pump.)
After hearing this heartrending situation of our OFW friend, I remember the grievance of one my friends about their worker that she accompanied in the bank to open his first savings account. The bank refused the worker to open an account as he only had one ID to start with. The nearest bank available in their area requires at least two government-issued ID’s.
It’s very sad to know that sometimes it is the society itself that prevents the less-fortunate and the poor from making that one big first step towards financial freedom.
I’m really hoping that banks and financial institutions become more lax in their requirements on opening new accounts especially for ordinary citizens that neither have time or extra money to secure an ID from SSS or any government institution.
Good thing stockbrokers like COL Financial have been very flexible and accommodating to applicants by requiring them to submit one ID only and one proof of billing. But in the case of our OFW friend, the absence of a proof of billing poses another problem for his stock investment application.
What To Do In Case You Do Not Have a Proof of Billing?
I approached our friends from COL Financial and they suggested a work around to our OFW friend.
1) Ask a colleague or a housemate who has a billing statement.
2) Make a copy of a colleague or housemate’s latest billing statement.
3) Fill out a Letter from the Lessor that certifies that the applicant resides in the address indicated in the housemate’s latest billing statement.
The Letter from the Lessor contains the following:
To Whom It May Concern:
This is to certify that (Applicant Name) is currently residing at (Address of housemate indicated in the billing/bank statement).
Signature over Printed Name of Lessor (Housemate)
4) Make a photocopy of the lessor’s (housemate’s) ID.
5) Together will all the COL application forms, submit the photocopies of the lessor’s (housemate’s) ID and billing statement via email and then by courier once pre-approved via email.
I hope that through this eased requirement of COL Financial, our OFW friend will be able to complete his application and finally buy the shares of some of the biggest companies in the Philippines.
Our OFW friend exemplifies that if there is a will, there will always be a way. People like him will slowly but surely achieve financial independence by making that firm decision and commitment to invest long term in the Philippine stock market.
Have you tried extending a helping hand to someone with strong determination to win (and become rich!) but without enough resources, time, and capabilities? Share them in the comments section below and inspire others even more to pay the wisdom forward.
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P.S. 2. The 1st Angat Pilipinas Personal Finance Awards has opened the voting phase for the Blogger of the Year, Author of the Year awards, Advocacy Group of the Year, and the Institution of the Year Awards. Got someone or a group in mind deserving recognition? CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW! P.S. 3 The Angat Pilipinas Coalition for Financial Literacy and OFW UsapangPiso Forum will be conducting its first ever PAID webinar in 2013 entitled “Multiplying Wealth – A Comprehensive Webinar on Investing” on March 8 and 22, 2013 (both Fridays) at 9pm (Philippine time). The webinar will feature my fellow blogger and personal finance advocate Fitz Villafuerte and he will discuss about investment preparation requirements for beginners, analysis for spotting good investments, types of investments that will make you a millionaire, investment portfolio creation and management, and an easy and simple strategy that will help you retire rich. And by the way, the webinar is also open to non-OFW’s. Register here now! P.S. 4. The OFW UsapangPiso KSA Chapter will be conducting a series of financial literacy seminars to OFW’s in the Eastern Province and in Bahrain on May 23, 2014 (Al Ahsa), May 30 and June 13 (International Philippine School of Al Khobar or IPSA), and June 20 (JCSGO Manama, Bahrain). Keep on visiting our Facebook group and website for updates on these events.
Photo credit: 401(K) 2013