The central bank has publicly pledged to strengthen the country’s banking system and make it more inclusive by crafting financial inclusion programs and strategies to reach a wider scope of yet unserviced areas nationwide.
“The BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas] takes the route to champion financial inclusion and call others to action by spearheading the development of a national strategy,” BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a blog posted on the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) website.
Tetangco said a national strategy on financial inclusion will provide a framework that will enable the government and the private sector to take a coordinated, organized and efficient approach toward building an inclusive financial system.
The BSP chief announced that the monetary authority has prepared an initial draft of the national strategy for financial inclusion, and is in the process of convening relevant stakeholders to discuss the way forward.
The central bank recognizes that an environment that will foster cooperation and coordination across stakeholders is needed to avoid duplicating efforts, set a common direction and ensure delivery of the action items set forth in the strategy, he said.
“Ultimately, our constituents are our bottom line,” he said.
The BSP chief reported that to date, only 26 percent of adult Filipinos have savings accounts, while only 10.5 percent have access to formal credit and 36.6 percent of Philippine cities and municipalities remain unbanked.
“Financial services are concentrated in higher income areas, while some of the country’s poorest regions remain largely unbanked,” he said.
The BSP, therefore, conscientiously works to increase financial access points and usage of financial services, he added.
Since September 2011, the banking system’s reach has grown 13.8 percent, which translates into the establishment of more than 1,200 new banking offices.
Alternative financial service providers also effectively augment and complement banking services, he said.
The BSP governor reported that the presence of these service providers has significantly reduced the percentage of cities and municipalities that remain unserved to 13 percent from 36.6 percent.