As the local proverb “Kapag may isinuksok, may madudukot” goes, setting aside a portion of an income or saving is a wise financial strategy to save for the future, to prepare against unforeseen untoward events, and to achieve financial independence.
In a recent survey, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported that in the country, the number of households with savings increased from 25.7 percent by end-2014 to 31.6 percent for the first quarter of 2015.
According to respondents, they save money mostly for emergencies, education, health and hospitalization, retirement, and for business capital and investment.
More than two-thirds or 68.5 percent of the household savers deposited their money in banks, while 39 percent kept their savings at home.
About 26 percent, meanwhile, put their money in cooperatives, paluwagan, and other credit or loan associations.
BSP, however, said that while the number of households who have the mindset to save is increasing, still, some of them have intended to do it at a later time.
Rural banks, in a way to help improve savings behavior of Filipinos, have presented new strategies and offered various savings products that further promote micro deposits in the countryside.
In 2012, the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (RBAP-MABS) program helped participating banks deploy strategies such as offering of raffle promotions that encouraged rural folks to open deposit accounts.
With raffle promotions, clients get a chance to win prizes such as household appliances, vehicles, or double-your-balance incentives either by opening account or by depositing amounts in specified increments. Results showed that deposit accounts increased up to 11 percent six months after the promotion.
Kiddie savings program was also launched to advocate financial literacy and saving awareness among the youth. Children are encouraged to save through kiddie accounts, in which kids only need P100 to open an account and with no maintaining balance.
Last year, BSP said the program generated over half a million kiddie savings accounts all over the country.
Further, mobile banking, which offers client-friendly services such as Text-A-Payment, Text-A-Deposit, and Text-A-Sweldo (Salary), has also helped to encourage clients open accounts, save, and later, avail of other banking products and services.
With mobile banking, rural banks have served over 170,000 clients and have facilitated more than 9 billion pesos in mobile banking transactions.
With the theme “Perang pinag-ipunan, may dalang kaunlaran,” the BSP is encouraging everyone to celebrate this year’s National Savings Consciousness Week that will run from June 30 to July 6, 2015.