BSP set to approve ‘branch lite’ operations


New memorandum circulars aimed at enabling “branch lite” operations will be issued before the year ends in bid to provide basic financial services to underserved and unbanked municipalities, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) official said.

“[T]he branch lite concept … is one of BSP’s liberalization initiatives to be more responsive to the more changing preferences of financial consumers and market conditions and this also intends to promote financial inclusion and reach greater scale,” central bank Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said at the sidelines of a Chamber of Thrift Banks meeting on Tuesday.

It will give banks more flexibility to expanding their networks and offering a wider range of financial products and services.

Branch lite units will be allowed to perform activities and services carried out by a normal bank branch, except those suited for sophisticated clients with high risk tolerances.

“Malapit na namin siyang ilabas (We’re near to releasing the circulars). We’re targeting … within November or … before the year ends, we’ll be coming out already with the branch lite as well as the basic deposit accounts [directives],” Fonacier said.

“Maraming (there is) [plenty of interest]especially for those having business model … on retail,” she added.
Regarding basic deposit accounts, meanwhile, the BSP is targeting to impose a zero maintaining balance, zero reserve requirement and zero premium on the deposit insurance.

“Yun ang tina-target namin pero hindi pa ako aware dun sa fina-final[ize]kasi (That’s our target but I am not aware of what is being finaized as) they sought the comments of the PDIC (Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.) as well as the [central bank’s]DER (Department of Economic Research),” she said.


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