BSP reports inroads to financial inclusion
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on a yearend report on its Financial Inclusion Initiatives said that the country’s estimated one million microentrepreneurs received loans of P9.3 billion last year.
The central bank enumerating inroads in serving unbanked Filipinos cited the surge in electronic money accounts to 26.7 million and the subsequent increase in transactions.
E-money accounts are mostly made up of money transfer services offered by telcos.
“There are now 26.7 million e-money accounts and 10,620 active e-money agents performing cash-in/cash-out transactions throughout the country immediately complementing our network of 46.9 million deposit accounts and 9,884 banking offices,” the BSP stated.
The report also noted that products sold to microentrepreurs carried insurance covers now allowed under the new Insurance Code.
BSP also worked to enhance accuracy of microfinance data.
The central bank added that new guidelines on credit risk management helped microentrepreneurs by allowing banks to give out loans based on clients’ cash flow as the primary source of repayment or creditworthiness.
“The BSP also continued to work toward an effective and efficient national retail payment system to further establish a more efficient and inclusive payment system,” it said.
For consumer protection, the report said the monetary authority institutionalized consumer protection as an integral component of banking supervision through the adoption of the Financial Consumer Protection Framework.
For financial education, the report cited the central bank’s sustained the implementation of the Economic and Financial Learning Program to reach audiences in targeted areas.
To better craft evidence-based policies and monitor achievements, the BSP also continued to intensify its data and measurement efforts on financial inclusion.
For advocacy programs, the BSP continued to implement initiatives that increased public awareness and generated greater support for financial inclusion, it said.
In 2014, 37 Credit Surety Funds have been established in 27 provinces and 10 cities nationwide reaching over 10,000 beneficiaries.
Other programs included the BSP Stakeholder Awards recognizing Financial Inclusion Champion and Partner, Citi Microentrepreneurship of the Year Awards and Microfinance Poster Art Competition.
The report also highlighted the global recognitions on the significant strides the central bank has undertaken toward microfinance and financial inclusion in 2014.
The Economist Intelligence Unit named the Philippines as the top country in Asia and third in the world with the most conducive environment for financial inclusion.
The BSP was also honored with the Maya Declaration award for its tangible financial inclusion commitments.
The report also featured the proposed National Strategy for Financial Inclusion which will raise the level of awareness, appreciation and understanding of financial inclusion across stakeholders.