More Filipinos now have deposit accounts
The Philippines is slightly less “unbanked” just two years after the central bank made it its mission to encourage more people to open bank accounts—meaning that, slowly but surely, more Filipinos are now part of the formal financial system.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the number of deposit accounts in the country has so far increased by 6.8 percent to 57.1 million in 2017 from 53.5 million in 2016.
The regulator’s latest “State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines” report also noted that, with the continuous growth of banking offices nationwide, the number of unbanked local government units declined to 554 (33.9 percent of the total) in 2017 from 582 (35.6 percent) in 2016, representing a 1.7 percentage points decrease in unbanked areas.
As of June 2018, 155 banks (out of 581 head offices) have tapped 1,751 so-called branch-lite units to expand physical outreach in 738 local government units, of which 151 were being served by branch-lite units alone.
These innovations were made under the National Retail Payment System mandating a basic deposit account framework that meets the need of the unbanked for a low-cost, no-frills deposit account, which they can open even without standard identification documents.
Meanwhile, the year-end report on BSP’s financial inclusion initiatives underscored the opportunities presented by the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion in facilitating key multipartite agreements such as the promotion of financial literacy in schools and access to finance by micro, small, and medium enterprises.
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