Home News Philippines, Slightly Less ‘Unbanked’ as More Filipinos Now Have Deposit Accounts

Philippines, Slightly Less ‘Unbanked’ as More Filipinos Now Have Deposit Accounts

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More Filipinos are now part of the country’s formal financial system as more citizens get to open their own bank accounts.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data reveals that there has been a 6.8 percent increase from the number of deposit accounts from the country—from 53.5 million in 2016 to 57.1 million in 2017.

The BSP’s ‘State of Financial Inclusion in the Philippines’ reported that the number of unbanked local government units (LGU) also declined from 582, or 35.6 percent of the total, in 2016 to 554, or 33.9 percent, in 2017. BSP attributes this development to the continuous growth of banking offices, nationwide.

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Photo Credit: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Easy access

After the National Retail Payment System mandated a basic deposit account framework that meets the need for a low-cost, no frills deposit account that can be opened even without standard identification documents, there are 1,751 branch-lite units in 738 LGUs, as of June 2018.

These units were tapped by 155 out of 581 bank head offices, where some of these branch-lite units where operating in 151 cities and municipalities without the bank’s head office or branch.

Branch-lite is a new concept in banking where banks have the flexibility to determine the appropriate size and model of a banking office for a specific area or locality based on the market needs. They are believed to provide a wide range of financial products and services suited for the needs of the market, particularly in the areas which are deemed to be unbanked and underserved.

Financial inclusion

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These initiatives are part of BSP’s effort to promote financial inclusion in the country. As the central bank strives to create a supportive environment for financial inclusion, it is currently setting its sights on technology, as a catalysts and a strategic enabler for financial inclusion of Filipinos.

The report also noted an increase in the number of automated teller machine installed nationwide, from 19,500 in June 2017 to 20,881 in June 2018.

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