Press Release
August 4, 2015

Villar cites BSP strategy of financial inclusion

Sen. Cynthia Villar said the strategy to make financial service more accessible to low-income sectors of society will benefit the farmers and fisherfolks in rural areas.

The National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) is the government action plan to "enhance cooperation between ministries, government agencies, and the private sector to improve the population's access to financial services."

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the strategy designed to make financial service more inclusive will have the families dependent on agriculture who reside in rural areas as the biggest beneficiaries.

"We really have to teach our farmers and fishermen how to avail of these services that can help them improve their income. This will mean access to capital which will enable them to acquire the needed equipment and technology to boost their productivity. This will also mean sound financial advice, which will teach them how to save more or grow their savings," she added.

The Nacionalista Party senator also commended Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Amado Tetangco, Jr. for the effort to bring BSP down to the country's poorest of the poor.

"Financial service is untapped in the countryside not only because the process of availment is complicated, our people also have the impression that it is costly and entails a lot of documentary requirements," Villar said.

"If this strategy succeeds, Governor Tetangco will be remembered as the one responsible for the rebranding of the banking sector as an institution not only for rich businessmen, but also for small, budding entrepreneurs," she added.

Villar said the NSFI, in addition to the measures implemented for greater access to financial products, support for financial literacy, and upholding the rights of financial consumers, will support the country's campaign to improve its ranking in financial inclusion.

Despite statistics saying that a considerable number of Filipinos are unbanked, and that many still rely on informal lenders, the country was recognized last year by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as the top country in Asia and the third in the world in terms of financial inclusion.

The National Baseline Survey on Financial Inclusion showed that 25 percent of Filipino adults have never saved, 32 percent used to save, and only 43 percent have savings at present. Of those with savings, 32 percent save in banks while 68 percent keep their savings at home.

It also shows that about 47 percent have outstanding loans. The main source of borrowing is informal - 62 percent borrow from family, relatives or friends while 10 percent borrow from informal lenders. Only 3.2 percent of adults have microinsurance coverage.

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