41 million unbanked people enter the financial system

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it is likely that 41 million unbanked Filipino adults have already been integrated into the financial system.

Based on the increase in the number of Basic Deposit Accounts (BDAs) and active e-money or e-money accounts, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said in a virtual briefing on Wednesday that the bank Central estimates that about 20 million unbanked adults have been onboarded. to the 2020 financial system in the third quarter of 2021.

He mentioned that in the third quarter of 2021, 3.6 million new BDAs were opened, while active e-money accounts increased by 16.8 million between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020.

“So out of 21 million adults banked in 2019, we estimate that around 41 million, or 53% of adult Filipinos, already have a transaction account in Q3 2021,” Diokno said.

He went on to say that with the latest data, it is very likely that the Bangko Sentral will be able to meet its goal of enrolling 70% of adult Filipinos by 2023 “as soon as possible.”

The recent launch of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) 2022-2028, noted the Head of BSP, reaffirms the government’s commitment to achieving not only the account ownership target, but also the broader goals. broad financial inclusion.

Furthermore, he said, the NSFI 2022-2028 is a roadmap for broad-based financial growth and resilience, and it demonstrates the combined commitment of government, the business sector and civil society. to make citizens more educated and financially independent.

To that end, Diokno emphasized that “NSFI is focused on reducing disparities in financial inclusion; improving health and resilience; empowering consumers; and improving access to the financing of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including start-ups and the agricultural sector”.

According to Executive Order 208, the interagency governing body of the Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the NSFI.

Diokno said that as part of the NSFI 2022-2028, the FISC will organize working groups with members drawn from government (regulators, policy makers and local government associations); suppliers (banks and non-banking financial institutions, telecommunications/internet service providers and similar sectors, and their professional associations); consumers (consumer groups, civil society organizations, representatives of grassroots sectors and the commercial public); and supporting institutions (donors, development partners, universities and think tanks).

They will be in charge of NSFI’s priority activities, which include increasing digital inclusion, strengthening financial education and consumer protection, and improving risk management and the ecosystem of finance for agriculture and MSMEs.

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Don F. Davis