We get this question several times per week, and the answer is different by bank and by loan type. In most cases, it is very hard for an expat to get a loan, unless you have a long history with an international bank that has branches here. The best starting point would be HSBC, Citibank or Standard Chartered, but some of the local banks will approve you in certain situations. The other answer some banks give is “you must have a Filipino spouse”. This isn’t always true. Here’s the breakdown:
Non-Collateral Loans (Personal, etc):
For Banks and Lending companies, there’s no chance for a loan approval. You might be able to find private lenders at high rates (6% or higher add-on interest rates per month) if it is an emergency, but obviously not advisable.
If you have a work contract that extends for the term of the loan, most major banks will fund the loan. We can help guide you to the best banks. If you have a permanent monthly gov’t disbursement such as social security or military pension, this can also be applied as long as you can show proof that these disbursements have a history of being sent to your account here in the Philippines. As for having a spouse, you will most likely only need a co-borrower that has employment as a regular employee. If your spouse doesn’t work, you’ll need to find a close Filipino friend that will sign as co-borrower.
Foreigners can’t own land in the Philippines, so you can only purchase a condo. There are only a handful of banks willing to lend to foreigners, and chances of acquiring a loan are somewhat limited. The bank will really have to see a long history here, and proof that you’ll be spending a long period of time in the country. Most likely you won’t be able to qualify for some of the longer loan terms until the bank gets to know you better. However, if you pay a higher down payment than the required minimum, this can help improve the chances that you can qualify for a longer term. Our answer is subjective, but so is the decision criteria by each bank.
The only case where business loans are approved are in cases where you own property that can be collateralized, such as a car or a condo.
If we haven’t covered your particular case as a foreigner here in the Philippines, do send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!