BSP reminds banks to ease services for PWD clients
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine central bank wants financial institutions in the country to make it easier for persons with disabilities to transact with them by providing additional services to aid those who are visually impaired as well as those with mobility limitations.
In a statement, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno also reminded banks not to turn away prospective PWD clients or insist that they open only joint bank accounts.
To this end, the regulator has issued a memorandum to all BSP-supervised financial institutions to remind them to refrain from discriminatory practices against persons with disabilities. This was to ensure that their PWDs’ rights were respected at all times.
The memorandum sternly reminded financial institutions to adhere to laws and regulations against discriminatory practices toward PWDs, including but not limited to:
- Refusal to accept government-issued PWD ID cards for account opening and other transactions
- Turning away blind people who are trying to open accounts
- Requiring blind people to open only joint accounts with those who are not visually impaired
Aside from putting in place mobility ramps and the Braille system in bank premises and automated teller machines, financial institutions are also reminded to provide express lanes for PWDs—similar to those reserved for senior citizens and pregnant women—within their premises.
To further support the welfare of PWDs, the BSP introduced enhanced tactile marks in Philippine banknotes to aid the elderly and the visually impaired in identifying denominations in July 2020.
Further, the BSP is now exploring the addition of Braille functionality to Philippine banknotes, which aims to benefit as many as 2.5 million visually impaired Filipinos.
The BSP highlighted the importance of empowering PWDs through digital financial inclusion during a recent online seminar marking the 43rd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.
“The BSP lauds the National Council on Disability Affairs and other stakeholders for upholding the rights of the PWD sector,” Diokno said. “Rest assured the BSP is committed to continuously engage the sector and better respond to the needs of PWDs.”
“Empowering vulnerable sectors has always been an underlying objective of the BSP’s efforts,” he added. “For this reason, we are stepping up our financial inclusion efforts to ensure financial services are within easy reach for all Filipinos, including PWDs.”
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