Savings of microfinance clients exceeded their outstanding loans and rose by 93 percent to reach P8.2 billion, according to the month-end March report of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
In a statement on Tuesday, the BSP said that the savings of more than one million microfinance clients served by 186 banks have breached their P8-billion outstanding loan portfolio.
The said figure was higher compared to the savings recorded in 2012 and an increase of over 362 percent from the level five years ago of just P1.78 billion, it added.
“This is a testimony that the entrepreneurial poor are capable of saving and is contrary to the customary belief that the poor do not save,” the central bank said.
Based on the Consumer Finance Survey conducted by the BSP in 2009, it showed that 8 out of 10 Filipino households do not have a deposit account, with 93 percent of them citing as their primary reason not having enough money to open bank deposits.
“As we celebrate ‘National Savings Consciousness Week’ it is noteworthy to highlight that this recent development in the savings portfolio of the entrepreneurial poor shows that having appropriately designed and priced products can indeed drive usage,” it said.
The BSP added that the numbers support this claim with the microfinance portfolio increasing to P8 billion as of March 2013 from P2.6 billion in 2002.
“With the available products, Filipino microentrepreneurs are increasingly taking out loans for productive activities and are actively saving,” it said.
Furthermore, the central bank assured its commitment to continuously provide the policy and regulatory framework that encourage banks to deliver financial products and services that are accessible to all Filipinos. These include policies on microfinance, microdeposits and microinsurance, among others.
The BSP added that savings play an important role as it helps people set aside money that can be used for future needs, like education, hospitalization and emergency situations. It also enables people seize economic opportunities.
“All these are part of a broader advocacy to make our financial system truly inclusive, where there is effective access and usage of financial products and services for all,” it said.